Veena George to be new Kerala Health Minister, P Rajeev to get industries

Muhammad Riyas will handle Tourism and PWD departments and R Bindu, the Higher Education ministry.
Collage of Veena George, P Rajeev and KN Balagopal
Collage of Veena George, P Rajeev and KN Balagopal
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Journalist turned CPI(M) leader Veena George will most likely replace KK Shailaja as Minister of Health and Family Welfare in Kerala. Veena George, MLA from Aranmula constituency, had been part of the previous Kerala Assembly. The 45-year-old started her career as a  journalist and had worked with popular Malayalam news channels like Kairali TV, Manorama News and Reporter TV. She contested for the first time in 2016 and won from the Aranmula seat.

The health portfolio, which she is set to handle, will be a challenging one as Veena has to fill the shoes of KK Shailaja teacher, who was lauded for her deft handling of the 2018 Nipah virus and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. KK Shailaja has been excluded from the cabinet in the second LDF government, and has been made whip of the party in the Kerala Legislative Assembly. 

Read Tara Krishnaswamy’s article on why there is no justification to this decision 

Other members of Kerala Cabinet

P Rajeev, senior CPI(M) leader and former Rajya Sabha MP and current MLA from Ernakulam’s Kalamassery will most likely be allotted the Industries portfolio. Rajeev will hold a cabinet rank for the first time. 

KN Balagopal, former Rajya Sabha MP, will most likely be the new Finance Minister, replacing TV Thomas Isaac. Thomas Isaac did not contest the elections this year due to CPI(M)’s decision to not field MLAs who had served two consecutive terms. 

PA Muhammad Riyas, who represents Beypore constituency is likely to get two portfolios- Tourism Department and Public Works Department. Riyas, who is the national president of the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) is also the son-in-law of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. This is the first time he was elected to the Assembly. 

MV Govindan, who is the central committee member of the CPI(M), will mostly replace AC Moideen as the Minister of Local Self Government Development (LSGD). Govindan who won from Taliparamba constituency is also a member of CPI(M) state committee. Govindan will reportedly also head the Excise Department.

R Bindu, former Mayor of Thrissur Corporation is likely to get the Higher Education Ministry. She will then replace KT Jaleel, who was Minister for Higher Education, Minorities Welfare, Wakf and Haj the previous term. She is also the wife of CPI(M) leader A Vijayaraghavan.

Nemom MLA V Sivankutty, who won back BJP’s lone seat in the past Assembly, is likely to be given the charge of General Education Department.

Ahamed Devarkovil of the Indian National League,part of the LDF, who won from Kozhikode South, is touted to be the Minister of Ports. In the previous government Kadannapally Ramachandran of Congress (Secular) was handling the Ports. 

K Krishnankutty of Janata Dal (S), who won from Chittur in Palakkad, will replace former minister MM Mani as the Minister of Power. He had been the Water Resources Minister in the previous Pinarayi Vijayan government. 

Roshy Augustine, leader of the Kerala Congress (Mani) faction of Jose K Mani, will head the Water Resources department, replacing K Krishnankutty. 

The Transport department has been taken from National Congress Party(NCP) and AK Saseendran, transport minister in previous term, was given the Forest department. He represents the Elathur constituency.

V Abdurahman who won from Tanur will reportedly head the Minorities Affairs department.

Antony Raju, part of the Janathipathya Kerala Congress who won from Thiruvananthapuram constituency, will most likely head the Transport Department. 

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