CPI(M) State secretariat meet today to outline composition of next LDF govt. in Kerala

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A CPI(M) insider said it is a given that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan would helm the next LDF government.

The State secretariat of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] will meet here on Tuesday to outline the make-up of the second Left Democratic Front (LDF) government.

It will formulate the party’s stance on government formation ahead of the LDF leadership conclave later in the week.

The closed-door meeting is likely to approve the list of CPI(M) legislators the party leadership reckons should take up Cabinet posts.

A CPI(M) insider said it is a given that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan would helm the next LDF government. The party had declared Mr. Vijayan as the face of its Assembly campaign. His image had appeared in party posters and advertisements.

Mr. Vijayan had submitted his resignation to Kerala Governor Arif Muhammad Khan on Monday, a precursor of the formation of the new government.

‘New faces likely’

Later, he told mediapersons that new faces were likely in the next LDF Cabinet. “Now is your time to speculate,” he had said.

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, political secretary to former Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan K.N. Balagopal, and P. Rajeev, chief editor, Deshabhimani, the party newspaper.

Speculation on former Ministers

A party insider said the State secretariat was also likely to take a call on whether some former Ministers should return to their earlier responsibilities.

Speculation was rife whether Health Minister K.K. Shylaja, Electricity Minister M. M. Mani, Devaswom Board Minister Kadakampally Surendran and Excise Minister T. P. Ramakrishnan would return to the Cabinet.

Questions also remained whether the CPI(M) would accommodate LDF independent and Minister for Higher Education and Minority Affairs K.T. Jaleel in the Cabinet.

Mr. Jaleel had recently drawn severe censure from the Kerala Lokayutka “for nepotism” in an appointment at the Kerala State Minority Welfare Commission.

The CPI(M) secretariat would deliberate on the portfolios to keep and shed to accommodate the new alliance partners, chiefly the Kerala Congress (M) and various Janata Dal factions.

Mr. Vijayan had refused to hazard a guess on the constitution of the Cabinet. “The party and LDF would decide. There is a laid down process honoured by all alliance partners,” he had said.

CPI(M) Polit Bureau members from Kerala are likely to attend the State secretariat meeting. There were reports that the meeting would deliberate on the reasons for the unexpected failure of Fisheries Minister J. Mercykutty in Kundara and M. Swaraj, CPI(M) State committee member, in Thripunithara.

Ms. Mercykutty was additionally the “victim of a criminal conspiracy” involving a government insider and the Opposition to tarnish the LDF’s image, Mr. Vijayan had said. The opposition had scripted the drama to sow disaffection with the government among traditional fishers, he had claimed on UDF’s accusation that Ms. Mercykutty had abetted a foreign firm to trawl the deep seas.

Mr. Vijayan had said that Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) State leadership had “sold” party votes to the United Democratic Front (UDF).

The BJP’s electoral share had fallen short by four lakh votes. The UDF had made an equivalent gain, he said.


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