KK Shailaja will not be in Pinarayi’s new Cabinet, to be party Whip

The Left Democratic Front had earlier announced that 12 CPI(M) MLAs — including KK Shailaja — will be sworn in as part of the 21-member Cabinet on May 20.
KK Shailaja Teacher
KK Shailaja Teacher
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KK Shailaja, who has been praised for her stint as Kerala’s Health Minister, will not be part of the second Pinarayi Vijayan cabinet that will be sworn in on May 20. Instead, she has been picked as the CPI(M)'s Whip. All ministers in the outgoing Pinarayi Vijayan government have been dropped. The move came as a surprise as earlier, the Left Democratic Front had hinted that 12 CPI(M) MLAs — including KK Shailaja — will be sworn in as part of the 21-member Cabinet on May 20. It was also announced that Shailaja will be continuing as the Health Minister, but that plan seems to have changed. 

LDF Chairman Vijayaraghavan had earlier said that ministerial berths will be allotted to each ally in the front led by the CPI(M) and of the 21 ministers, 12 will be from the CPI(M) and four will be from the Communist Party of India (CPI). He had also said that the MLAs who get chosen as ministers from the CPI(M) would most likely be new faces. The decision was made by the state committee of the party, consisting Pinarayi Vijayan, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, MA Baby and K Ramachandran Pillai. The party claims the decision was to have all news faces in the cabinet.

The other members of the CPI(M) in the second Pinarayi Vijayan government, as per the statement issued by the CPI(M) on Tuesday are MV Govindan, K Radhakrishnan, Saji Cherian, KN Balagopal, P Rajeev, VN Vasavan, V Sivankutty, Muhammed Riyas, Dr R Bindhu, Veena George and Abdul Rahman. While Muhammed Riyas, who is Pinarayi's son-in-law and the national president of the Democratic Youth Federation, is among the new faces, so is Dr R Bindhu, who is the wife of CPI(M) state secretary and LDF convenor Vijayaraghavan. MB Rajesh has been chosen by the party to be the Speaker candidate, while TP Ramakrishnan is decided as the party’s Parliamentary Secretary. 

In the Assembly polls, KK Shailaja had won the election with the highest margin of 60,963 votes from Mattannur constituency. Shailaja, who was the Health Minister in the past LDF government, had won global acclaim for successfully fighting many challenges effectively, including the deadly Nipah outbreak and COVID-19 pandemic. She was also one of the most popular faces in the CPI(M)’s election campaign, after Pinarayi Vijayan. KK Shailaja started out full time politics in 2004, after serving 23 years as a school teacher. She was the former member of the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), the youth wing of CPI(M).

The LDF won by a sweeping majority in the Assembly elections held in April, the results of which were announced on May 2. The LDF won 99 seats in the 140 member Assembly. The CPI(M) won 62 seats and the CPI won 17. A Vijayaraghavan had told the media that Chief Minister-designate Pinarayi Vijayan has been entrusted with the task of deciding the portfolio for ministers and that the attempt is to ensure representation to all. 


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