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Though the swearing-in of the new government has not been decided yet, speculations have started about the people who will find a place in the cabinet.

Collage of Kerala CPI(M) MLAs P Rajeev, KN Balagopal and V Sivankutty From left: P Rajeev, KN Balagopal and V Sivankutty
news 2021 Kerala Assembly Election Tuesday, May 04, 2021 - 15:37

Now that the Left Democratic Front (LDF) has emerged with a resounding victory in the Kerala Assembly elections, the coalition has begun its next process at hand — forming a government, under the leadership of CPI(M) leader Pinarayi Vijayan. The Communist Party of Indian (Marxist) state Secretariat has begun a meeting at the party headquarters, the AKG Centre in Thiruvananthapuram, to decide the cabinet members. “It’s a collective decision and will be decided within the LDF only,” Chief Minister-elect Pinarayi Vijayan had said on Monday when asked about the ministerial berths.

Though the swearing-in of the new government has not been decided yet, speculations have started about the people who will find a place in the cabinet. KK Shailaja, who is the Health Minister, is quite likely to become a cabinet minister again; though there is no confirmation on her portfolio. From Kannur, the other leader who is likely to be in the ministry is MV Govindan Master, who won from the Taliparamba constituency. According to media reports on Tuesday, Veena George, the sitting MLA who won a second term in the Aranmula constituency, is likely to be inducted into the ministry, where she is likely to be allotted the crucial education portfolio.

There were also questions about V Sivankutty, who closed the lone account of the BJP in Kerala – the Nemom seat – being given a berth in the second Pinarayi ministry. According to reports emerging from the meeting, V Sivankutty is likely to be given the Devaswom and Cooperation profiles. If he is, his party colleague Kadakampally Surendran would be left out. Both Sivankutty and Kadakampally are prominent leaders of the CPI(M) in Thiruvananthapuram. Kadakampally had held the portfolios of Devaswom and Tourism in the previous Pinarayi Vijayan government. If only one of them is inducted into the cabinet from the district, Sivankuty will likely get priority as Kadakampally has already got his due. Sivankutty, the then sitting Nemom MLA, had lost to O Rajagopal of the BJP in the 2016 elections. 

Read: Kerala Assembly polls: BJP loses its only seat in Nemom

Meanwhile, Kerala Congress (B) MLA KB Ganesh Kumar, reportedly, would be given the Transport portfolio. The actor-turned-politician retained the Pathanapuram constituency in the Kollam district. Ganesh Kumar was the Transport Minister in the AK Antony cabinet in 2001. However, he stepped down in 2003 to facilitate his father, late Balakrishna Pillai's entry into the cabinet. Ganesh Kumar was later made the minister of Sports, Forests and Cinema in the Oommen Chandy cabinet in 2011, but had to resign due to the domestic violence case against him, filed by his former wife, Yamini Thankachi, in 2013.

The KC(B) joined LDF in 2018 and hence Ganeshkumar contested as LDF canidate in the 2021 elections.The KC(B) joined LDF in 2018, after which Ganesh Kumar contested as the LDF candidate in the 2021 elections.

KN Balagopal and P Rajeev

As the meeting to decide the ministerial berths are underway, KN Balagopal and P Rajeev, the state Secretariat members of the CPI(M), are speculated to be assigned the Public Works and the Finance portfolios respectively. Finance is one of the important portfolios in a ministry, which is currently held by Thomas Issac in Kerala. 

Balagopal won from the Kottarakkara constituency in the Kollam district, while P Rajeev won from the Kalamassery seat in Ernakulam. With the CPI(M) being firm on having new faces in the Assembly, and subsequently, the cabinet, Balagopal and Rajeev are most likely to find places in the ministry. This is the maiden victory for both in the Assembly elections. 

Both are former members of the Rajya Sabha and have won acclaim as outstanding parliamentarians. Both Balagopal and P Rajeev had contested as the party candidates from Kollam and Ernakulam in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and lost. Balagopal was the party Kollam district secretary and Rajeev was Ernakulam district secretary. 

PP Chitharanjan and Saji Cherian

From Alappuzha, the probable MLAs who would be inducted into the ministry are likely PP Chitharanjan and Saji Cherian.

PP Chitharanjan has won from the Alappuzha seat in the district, which is his maiden victory. G Sudhakaran and Thomas Issac, who held the portfolios of Public Works and Finance in the previous Pinarayi government, are the CPI (M) leaders from Alappuzha. Both leaders were not given seats in the 2021 elections because of the party’s two-term policy.

Saji Cherian, who retained the Chengannur seat for the LDF in the 2018 bye-elections, is another ministerial candidate.

MM Mani, AC Moideen, and TP Ramakrishnan

The Power Minister in the previous Pinarayi Vijayan government, MM Mani, has won from his sitting seat of Udumbanchola constituency in the Idukki district with a margin of over 30,000 votes. It is not certain if Mani will be chosen for a ministerial berth again. However, his party and cabinet colleagues, AC Moideen and TP Ramakrishnan are likely to become ministers again.

AC Moideen was the Minister for Local Self Governments in the 2016-2021 LDF government while Ramakrishnan was Labour and Excise Minister. Ramakrishnan has won from the Perambra constituency in the Kozhikode district, and AC Moideen has retained the Kunnamkulam seat in the Thrissur district.

P Nandakumar, who won from the Ponnani seat of Malappuram, may also be inducted into the cabinet.

CPI

From the Communist Party of India (CPI), which is one of the major constituent parties in the LDF, PS Supal, who won from the Punalur seat of Kollam district, will mostly be given priority by the party. However, party state secretary Kanam Rajendran prefers Chinchumol over Supal. Chinchumol won from the Chadayamangalam constituency in the district. E Chandrasekharan, who was Revenue Minister in the previous government, is likely to get the same berth again. 

CPI had four ministers in the previous government. 

Kerala Congress (M)

The Kerala Congress (M), which was accommodated into the LDF in 2019, too, is likely to get ministerial berths. The party won five seats in the 2021 Assembly election, although its party chief, Jose K Mani, was defeated. Since he lost the election, preference would be given to N Jayaraj and Roshy Augustine. While Jayaraj won from Kanjirappilly in Kottayam, Augustine won from Idukki.

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