Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala has witnessed the historic moment of the Pinarayi Vijayan-led LDF government’s swearing-in ceremony on Thursday. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan took the oath of office and secrecy at first.
The CPI-M-led Left Democratic Front has won 99 seats in the 140-member assembly. An order issued by the Chief Secretary regarding the oath-taking ceremony stated that entry to the venue will be strictly through an entry pass and the entry/exit will be regulated by maintaining social distancing. The order said that the seating arrangements including at the dais will be made as per COVID-19 protocol. Entry will be allowed to only those persons having RT-PCR/TRUANT/RT-LAMP negative results obtained within 48 hours or on the production of a final certificate of COVID vaccination. The order also stated that a testing facility for COVID-19 shall also be arranged near the venue.
Governor Arif Mohammed Khan administered the oath of office to 76-year-old Vijayan in a low-key function at the Central Stadium here, which was held completely in adherence with the COVID protocol.
It is the second stint of the Marxist veteran in the top office.
Opposition Congress-UDF leaders kept away from the function in view of the COVID-19 spread.
The swearing-in ceremony commenced around 3.35 pm.
Ahead of the ceremony, a virtual music program of 54 singers aired at the venue.
The first cabinet meeting will be held at 5.30 pm.
Barring the Chief Minister, K Krishnankutty of JD-S and A K Saseendran of NCP, the Water Resources and Transport Ministers respectively in the previous LDF government, is the only old faces in the new ministry.
Both CPI-M and CPI, the major partners in the ruling coalition, opted not to retain any of their ministers from the previous government. The JD-S and NCP, which have one nominee each in the cabinet, have decided to give another chance to their outgoing representatives.
P A Mohammed Riyas, the DYFI national president and the son-in-law of Vijayan and R Bindhu, wife of Marxist Party’s acting state secretary A Vijayaraghavan, (both CPI-M) and G R Anil, Chinchu Rani and P Prasad ( all CPI) and Ahammed Devarkovil (INL) were among the first-time MLAs who got the cabinet berth. Forty-five-year-old Riyas, who came to mainstream politics through SFI and DYFI, the Marxist party’s student and youth outfits, had unsuccessfully contested from Kozhikode constituency in 2009 Lok Sabha polls.
It is for the first time in the history of the Kerala Assembly that a father-in-law and son-in-law will come together to be part of the House and the cabinet. Bindhu, a college professor by profession, had served as the first woman Mayor of Thrissur.
Besides Bindhu, Aranmula MLA Veena George and J Chinchu Rani, who won from the Chadayamangalam constituency, would be the other women to be part of the new Left government. Three women ministers is the highest in recent times in the state assembly, which had two and one respectively in the previous LDF and UDF governments.
As there are restrictions to accommodate more than 21 members in the cabinet, the LDF recently decided to share the ministerial berths to four of its allies, having a single MLA, on a term basis. With this, Antony Raju, (Janadhipathya Kerala Congress) and Ahammad Devarkovil (Indian National League) would become ministers in the first term while KB Ganesh Kumar ( Kerala Congress-B) and Ramachandran Kadannappally (Congress-S) were expected to be inducted into the cabinet in the second phase.
Earlier, Vijayan, who chaired the LDF state committee meeting at the CPI(M) headquarters AKG Centre here, cut a cake in the presence of front leaders to celebrate their historic victory in the April 6 Assembly polls.
The meeting also paid homage to Kerala Congress (B) former chief, late R Balakrishna Pillai who died earlier this month.
The LDF has retained power in Kerala by winning 99 seats, beating its rivals-Congress-headed United Democratic Front (UDF) and BJP-NDA.
While UDF could manage only 41 seats, the saffron front failed to win any seat in the polls