Kerala governor Arif Mohammad Khan administered oath to 21-member ministry headed by chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday (May 20). The function was held at the Central Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram and was limited for only 500 people because of corona virus restrictions.
The unique feature of this ministry is that 17 out of the 20 ministers are fresh faces. This includes three women and the son-in-law of Vijayan, Mohammad Reyaz who got PWD and tourism ministry. The latter is the president of Democratic Youth Federation of India, the youth wing of the Communist Party of India (Marxist).
The CPM had on Monday last dropped all the old ministers including the health minister K K Shailaja. The move has come under strong criticism from several quarters. Shailaja has been replaced by Veena George who has got health, women and child and social justice portfolio.
Though the party leaders claim that it is a routine affair taken keeping in mind the organisational needs of the CPM, many independent analysts are of the view that Vijayan appears to be alarmed over the rising stature of Shailaja after the way she had tackled the corona virus crisis.
In the new cabinet, the CPI(M) has 12 ministers including the CM, CPI four ministers and one each from Kerala Congress (M), Indian National League (INL), Democratic Kerala Congress (DKC), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Janata Dal (S).
This is the first time in over four decades that an incumbent government has been re-elected in Kerala. It needs to be mentioned that the Left Democratic Front won 99 out of 140 seats in the recently held Assembly election.