Amid uproar over former Kerala Health Minister K K Shailaja’s omission from the new cabinet, CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said on Thursday (May 20) that the Left party’s decision to replace old faces with fresh ones was “in the long term interest of the party and for the state”.
Yechury is in Thiruvananthapuram to attend the swearing in ceremony of the new Pinarayi Vijayan-led government. Speaking to media persons, the general secretary said the party’s central leadership has nothing to do with cabinet formation in states.
When specifically asked to respond on the exclusion of Shailaja, who got international fame for her handling of the COVID crisis last year, Yechury said the question of who will contest the election and who of the elected MLAs become ministers are matters within the domain of the respective state committees in every state.
Yechury backed his conviction by arguing that 26 sitting MLAs, including senior ministers, were denied tickets this time. “The media had then said that it (dropping MLAs) would have an adverse effect. But the results are here to see. CPI (M) takes decisions in the long term interest of the party and the state of Kerala,” he said.
Shailaja’s non-inclusion has set off a debate with many including celebrities backing her and demanding that she be reinstated in the ministry.
Shailaja played an important role in Kerala’s fight against the pandemic right from the onset last year, and was especially lauded for her handling of the pandemic in the first wave.