For the second time, Pinarayi Vijayan was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Kerala on May 20, Thursday. The 24-member cabinet took the oath of office and oath of secrecy in the presence of Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan at the Central Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday afternoon. Pinarayi Vijayanâ€™s new cabinet ministers were sworn in alphabetical order.
Close to 500 people were in attendance for the swearing-in. Political leaders and prominent religious personalities were among the invitees. The swearing-in was held following COVID-19 protocols, including staggered seating arrangements. Before the ceremony began, on Thursday morning, Pinarayi Vijayan and the cabinet members from CPI(M), assembled at the Punnapra-Vayalar martyrâ€™s memorial in Alappuzha, paying tribute to the partyâ€™s martyrs. Following this, the ministers left for Thiruvananthapuram for the swearing-in ceremony which began at 3.30 pm.
Notably, the physical swearing-in ceremony was held at a time when the Thiruvananthapuram district, which is currently under triple lockdown amidst the raging second wave of COVID-19. It also came amidst strong criticism against the government for holding the ceremony which saw close to 500 attendees. The opposition Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) chose to stay away from the event, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is the only one in the new cabinet among the CPI(M) leaders, with all other ministers from the first term being dropped. CPI(M) Ministers who were sworn in on Thursday are holding the cabinet post for the first time. Out of the 21-member cabinet, excluding Speaker and Deputy Speaker, 11 ministers, including the CM are from the CPI(M), four are from the CPI, while rest of the cabinet posts belong to other parties in the LDF. Notably, only three out of the 20 ministers are women. Among the cabinet ministers including Speaker and Deputy Speaker 17 are between the age of 50 and 70, three including Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan are above the age of 70 and three are between the ages of 44 and 49.
K Rajan of the Communist Party of India (CPI) was sworn in second, following the Chief Minister. He is likely to become the new Revenue Minister. Roshy Augustine of Kerala Congress (Mani) will take charge as Minister for Water Resources. K Krishnankutty of Janata Dal (S) has been sworn-in as the Minister of Power. AK Saseendran of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), who was the Transport Minister in the previous government, will be the new Minister for Forest.
Watch the swearing in ceremony here:
A key portfolio, Minister of Health and Family Welfare, which was held by KK Shailaja in the previous ministry, will be now held by former journalist and CPI(M) leader Veena George. Shailajaâ€™s exclusion from the second Pinarayi cabinet had triggered controversy, with scores expressing their dissent and anger over the decision. Shailaja will be the CPI(M) party whip.
Former Member of Rajya Sabha KN Balagopal would head the Finance Minister, while former Rajya Sabha MP P Rajeev will head the Industries Department. MB Rajesh of the CPI(M) will be the Kerala Assembly as the Speaker, while Communist Party of India (CPI) leader Chittayam Gopakumar is the Deputy Speaker.
PA Muhammad Riyas, the national Presinet of Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), will be the new minister of Tourism and Public Works Department. Riyas is married to Pinarayi Vijayanâ€™s daughter. R Bindu, the former Mayor of Thrissur Corporation, will take charge as the Minister of Higher Education Department, which had been held by KT Jaleel in the previous government. She is also the wife of A Vijayaraghavan, CPI(M) leader and convenor of Left Democratic Front (LDF).
The Local Self Government Department (LSGD) and Excise Department will be headed by MV Govindan, the central committee member of CPI(M). CPI(M) leader V Sivankutty is the new Minister of the General Education Department. V Sivankutty won from the Nemom constituency, which was the lone BJP seat in the previous Assembly.
VN Vasavan of the CPI(M) will head the Registration and Cooperation Department. Saji Cherian of the CPI(M) will be the new Minister for Cultural Affairs and Fisheries Department.
CPI(M)â€™s K Radhakrishnan will be the Devaswom Minister and head the Department of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Welfare.
CPI leader Chinchu Rani will head the Animal Husbandry Department. CPI leader GR Anil who won from Nedumangad in Thiruvananthapuram will head the Civil Supplies. P Prasad of CPI will replace VS Sunil Kumar as the Agriculture Minister.
Ahamed Devarkovil of the Indian National League (INL), part of the LDF, will be the Minister for Ports. Antony Raju, part of the Janathipathya Kerala Congress, will head Transport Department in the new LDF government.
V Abdurahiman of the National Secular Conference (NSC), who won from Tanur constituency, will head the Minorities Affairs Department.