Mix of veterans, new faces in Kerala Cabinet

LDF will meet on May 17 to formulate make-up of the next government

Communist Party of India (Marxist) State secretary A. Vijayaraghavn on Tuesday hinted that a mix of new faces and experienced hands would set apart the next Pinarayi Vijayan Cabinet.

When pressed whether high-profile CPI(M) members in the earlier government would return to the Council of Ministers, Mr. Vijayaraghavan said, “The party had withdrawn an array of veteran comrades from the electoral field to allow a new generation of party members to compete in the Assembly polls and gain legislative experience. The gambit paid off. Voters backed it overwhelmingly”.

Mr. Vijayaraghavan seemed to stop short of suggesting that not all CPI(M) Ministers in the previous Cabinet would find a berth in the next government. The Left Democratic Front (LDF) would convene here on May 17 to formulate the make-up of the next LDF government. Once the LDF reached a decision, the CPI(M) would know its share of seats. Subsequently, the State secretariat and later the State committee would assign select legislators for public office.

The CPI(M) State secretariat had met here for a post-election analysis. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Polit Bureau members from Kerala were present. The closed-door meeting triggered intense speculation about the make-up of the next government. Names of several hopefuls were being bandied about on television channels.

By one account, the party leadership had considered at least three CPI(M) State secretariat members, newly elected to the Assembly, for a Cabinet position. They are former Speaker K. Radhakrishnan, K.N. Balagopal, political secretary to former Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan, and P. Rajeev, chief editor, Deshabhimani, the party newspaper.

Focus on pandemic

There were reports that the Communist Party of India (CPI) had staked claim for four Cabinet berths, including the post of Deputy Speaker. Some quarters suggested the Kerala Congress (M) had demanded two Cabinet posts.

Mr. Vijayaraghavan scotched such reports. He said the CPI(M) secretariat focussed on the pandemic situation primarily. The party would examine other issues, including unexpected defeats in Thripunithara and Kundara. LDF supporters would celebrate the victory by lighting lamps in front of their houses on May 7.

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