KK Shailaja, previously the Minister for Health, Social Justice and Woman and Child Development in the Pinyari led government has been excluded from the Left-led government's new cabinet. The LDF's second-term government finalised the party's candidates for this term on Tuesday.
Shailaja was elected from the Mattannur assembly seat in the recent elections, where she won about 60,000 votes. Her leadership during the Covid-19 was lauded, as it bolstered the healthcare system at the grassroot level.
She was named one of the world's most influential women in 2020 by the Financial Times for her role in the containment of the virus. She had previously worked on the Nipah virus's containment which hit Kerala in 2018.
"No one from the earlier LDF ministry is part of the new ministry except for the Chief Minister. This is our party decision. Only our party has the courage to do so. Many top performers were also not allowed to contest elections. We want new faces," CPI (M) MLA, AN Shamsheer told NDTV.
Prior to the elections, Pinayari said that MLAs who have run and won twice would not be granted a third ticket and that no minister will be repeated.
The other ministers from CPI (M) are MV Govindan, K Radhakrishnan, KN Balagopal, P Rajeev, VN Vasavan, Saji Cherian, V Shivankutty, Mohammed Riyas, Dr R Bindhu, Veena George and V Abdul Rahman. TP Ramakrishnan, a senior leader, has been appointed Parliamentary Party Secretary.
PA Mohamad Riyas, son-in-law of the Chief Minister is also among the new cabinet members. A 21-member cabinet will be sworn in by Kerala's second Pinarayi Vijayan government on May 20.
The new Cabinet will include two women legislators – Thrissur Mayor R Bindu and Veena George. After the CPM released the list of the cabinet with all the ministers from the party being freshers, except for Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, it faced criticism from its supporters as well as from the public.