Kerala cabinet reshuffle on cards; LDF to meet today
Thiruvananthapuram: The ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) in Kerala is scheduled to meet here on Friday to reportedly deliberate on the Pinarayi Vijayan cabinet reshuffle.
In May 2021, when the current government took office, there was an in-principle decision to share cabinet posts among parties having single MLAs.
Under that formula, Antony Raju was given the Transport portfolio and Ahamed Devarkovil took over the Ports department. As per the agreement, after the completion of 30 months in office, the two ministers are to make way for K.B. Ganesh Kumar (Raju)and veteran Kadanapally Ramachandran ( Devarkovil).
According to sources in the LDF, Vijayan is reshuffling to honour the agreement and bring about a change in the portfolios of the CPI(M) leaders as well.
Though there are no reports of any CPI(M) minister losing his/her post, chances of journalist-turned-politician Veena George taking over as the Speaker looks bright. If it happens, she would turn out to be the first woman Speaker of the Kerala Legislative Assembly, the sources said.
If George takes over as the Speaker, the incumbent A.N.Shamseer will be elevated to the cabinet rank.
For the CPI(M) including George, there are ten state ministers and right from the inception the selection of the ministers has come under fire over their lack of experience.
As many as five of them were first time MLAs and it includes K.N.Balagopal ( Finance), P. Rajeev ( Industries), R. Bindhu (Higher Education), M. B. Rajesh (Local Self Government), and son-in-law of Vijayan- P.A.Mohammed Riyas (Public Works and Tourism).
The only one who previously was a Minister was K.Radhakrishnan, while V.Sivankutty ( Education) V.N.Vasavan ( Cooperation) and Saji Cherian were MLAs earlier.
As per the sources, there will be no change in the major portfolios held by Balagopal, Rajeev, Radhakrishnan and Riyas and Bindhu.
While Vasavan and Saji Cherian, considered to be close aides of Vijayan, might be entrusted with bigger responsibilities.
There doesn’t seem to be any issue on the portfolio reallocation, former State Minister Ganesh Kumar, who shifted his loyalty from the Congress-led UDF to the LDF ahead of the 2016 Assembly polls, had expressed his intent that he does not want the Transport portfolio.
Moreover, Ganesh Kumar has run into a spot of bother after the Congress-led Opposition slammed him for being the live wire to trap two-time former Congress Chief Minister Oommen Chandy (who passed away in July) in a sexual exploitation case filed by a solar scam accused woman.
Incidentally, the LDF’s leadership meet is expected to start the discussion on the re-shuffle later this week and in all likelihood the change will happen in November, when Vijayan’s tenure enters the halfway-mark.