Pinarayi Vijayan takes oath as Kerala chief minister for 2nd time

By | Edited by Poulomi Ghosh
May 20, 2021 03:40 PM IST

The 76-year-old, who cemented his consecutive 2nd term through the handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, started his political career as a youth CPM leader.

CPM veteranPinarayi Vijayan took oath as the chief minister of Kerala for the second consecutive term on Thursday. Governor Arif Mohammad Khan administered the oath in the swearing-in ceremony which the Kerala high court allowed on the condition of only 500 invitees.

Pinarayi Vijayan takes oath as Kerala chief minister for the 2nd time
Pinarayi Vijayan takes oath as Kerala chief minister for the 2nd time

Vijayan's association with the Communist Paty of India Marxist goes back a long way as the 76-year-old started as a youth leader while he was studying at Government Brennen College.

In 1964, he joined the Communist Party, eventually became Kannur district secretary of Kerala Students' Federation (KSF), which became the Students Federation of India (SFI). He was arrested in 1975, during the Emergency. In 2002, he was elected to the politburo.

Vijayan's rising popularity in the last year of the pandemic came under scrutiny following the party's decision to drop KK Shailaja — the former health minister — from the cabinet, as it was interpreted as a race of popularity between Vijayan and Shailaja. Commenting on this, Vijayan said it was the party's decision to not include anyone for two consecutive terms. On continuing as the CM for the two consecutive terms, he said, "I am continuing as CM as the party asked me to."

Except for the CM face, all ministers of the new cabinet will be fresh faces, a blend of youngsters and veterans, CPI(M) leader AN Shamseer has said.

In a departure from Kerala's political tradition in which the state switches between LDF and UDF, the CPM-led Left Democratic Front retained power winning 99 seats against UDF's 41.

Vijayan has also been subjected to criticism as his son-in-law Mohammad Riyas is getting a berth in the new cabinet. Apart from Riyas, the new cabinet includes MV Govindan, K Radhakrishnan, KN Balagopal, P Rajeev, VN Vasavan, Saji Cherian, V Sivankutty, Dr R Bindu, Veena George, V Abdul Rahman among others.

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