The unthinkable: Left drops Shailaja Teacher from Kerala’s new Cabinet

She instead will be the CPI(M)’s chief whip in the Assembly; decision is part of party's resolve to introduce fresh faces into the Assembly

KK Shailaja has been on the forefront of Kerala's war against COVID-19

The Left has done the unthinkable again.

COVID warrior and one of the state’s most popular ministers, KK Shailaja, who led the valiant battle against the pandemic as the health minister, has been excluded from Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s new cabinet. Not to forget the fact that K Shailaja won from the Mattannur Assembly seat by 60,000+ votes — the highest ever margin in Kerala’s electoral history.

Shailaja instead will be the CPI(M)’s chief whip in the Assembly, a statement issued by the party said. Not only Shailaja, all the existing ministers in the cabinet have been replaced by new faces.

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According to CPI(M), this is a continuation of the party’s decision to introduce fresh faces into the Assembly. MLAs who have served two consecutive terms as ministers were therefore not given cabinet portfolios.

Many popular faces such as finance minister TM Thomas Issac and PWD minister G Sudhakaran  were dropped even before the elections.

Related news: Beyond ‘Kerala model’, there is lot to learn from Shailaja teacher

The past few days have not only seen speculations floating on Shailaja’s imminent ouster from the new cabinet, but also netizens demanding her to be made the chief minister given the huge popularity she has garnered for her work as health minister during the COVID-19 pandemic and the Nipah virus crisis.

Fondly called ‘Shailaja Teacher’, the 64-year-old won from the Mattannur constituency in Kannur district with a record margin of 60963 votes, the highest ever since the formation of the state.

Named the ‘Top Thinker of the Year 2020’ by UK-based Prospect magazine, she also made it to the cover page of November 2020 edition of Vogue India magazine.

Here are the members of Pinarayi Vijayan’s new cabinet:  

MV Govindan, K Radhakrishnan, KN Balagopal, V Sivankutty, P Rajiv, VN Vasavan, Saji Cheriyan, Dr R Bindu, Veena George, PA Mohemmad Riays, V Abdul Rahman  – CPI(M)

Ahmed Devar Kovil – Indian National League

K Rajan, P Prasad, GR Anil, Chinchu Rani – CPI

Roshi Augustin – Kerala Cong (M)

Antony Raju – Kerala Cong (Democratic)

K Krishnankutty – JD (S)

AK Saseendran – NCP

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