Kerala Health Minister Shailaja
K.K. Shailaja Image Credit: ANI/Twitter

Dubai: In the LDF (Left Democratic Front) cabinet created after the 2021 Assembly Elections, everyone other than the sitting Chief Minister is a new face.

Beating predictions, it has emerged that former health minister K.K. Shailaja will not be a minister this time around. In the course of her tenure she has battled the Nipah virus outbreak in 2018, which claimed 17 lives in Kerala, and then the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) CPI(M) state committee on Tuesday appointed Pinarayi Vijayan as the CPI (M) parliamentary party leader and Kerala's Chief Minister.

The ministers from CPI(M) in the new Pinarayi Vijayan cabinet include MV Govindan, K Radhakrishnan, KN Balagopal, P Rajeev, VN Vasavan, Saji Cherian, V Sivankutty, Mohammad Riyas, Dr R Bindu, Veena George and V Abdul Rahman.

Riyas is the son-in-law of the Chief Minister.

As the party only chose freshers, all the ministers of CPI(M) that were part of the previous government have been dropped from the state cabinet. Shailaja has been chosen as the Party's whip.

The party has selected MB Rajesh as Speaker candidate and TP Ramakrishnan has been appointed as the Parliamentary Party Secretary.

Politbureau members S Ramachandran Pillai, Pinarayi Vijayan, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and MA Baby were present in the meeting presided over by Elamaram Kareem.

"Only the Chief Minister will be there (from the previous Kerala cabinet), rest of the 11 ministers are new. It is a blend of youngsters and the old," said AN Shamseer, CPI(M) leader on the new Kerala Cabinet that will be sworn in on May 20.

On being asked about KK Shailaja being dropped from the Cabinet AN Shamseer, CPI(M) leader said, "It is our party's collective decision taken by a collective leadership."

The Communist Party of India (M)-led LDF retained power in Kerala by winning 99 seats against 41 seats of Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) in the Assembly polls.

BJP did not win any seat.

CPI surprise

Meanwhile, the CPI, the second biggest ally of the ruling Left Democratic Front, on Tuesday sprang a surprise when it named J.Chinchurani, a senior woman leader from the party, to become a state cabinet minister.

After the Communist party split in 1964, this is the first time that the CPI has a lady cabinet minister.

The CPI also named K.Rajan, P. Prasad and G.R. Anil as the other three state ministers, said CPI state secretary Kanam Rajendran.

Barring Rajan, who was a member of the outgoing assembly, all the other three are first-time legislators.

Anil's wife Latha Devi was a legislator a few terms ago.

Rajendran said the portfolio for the ministers is the prerogative of the chief minister and it will be known after the swearing-in ceremony takes place on Thursday.

- with inputs from agencies