india

New faces not a reflection on old guard: CM

Pinarayi to meet Governor today, list of Ministers and portfolios later

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has said the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] has taken a collective decision to induct fresh faces into the next Left Democratic Front (LDF) Ministery and it is not a reflection on the performance of the previous Cabinet.

The party had decided to give new persons a chance to gain administrative and leadership experience, the Chief Minister said here on Wednesday.

The furore over the non-inclusion of Health Minister K.K. Shailaja in the new Cabinet was understandable. It bespoke the people’s appreciation of the previous LDF government. The CPI(M) wholeheartedly welcomed the compliment, he said.

Mr. Vijayan said the CPI(M) Ministers in the previous government deserved an exemption. However, the party had chosen a different approach. The party took the relatively risky path of withdrawing experienced leaders and high-profile ministers from the electoral arena.

Instead, it fielded comparative newcomers to fight the elections. The gambit paid off. People embraced the change, he said.

When pressed why the Chief Minister remained the same, Mr. Vijayan said the party had decided so. “The decision was collective. It was not taken in privileged isolation by any one individual. You (media) are inclined to pin every decision on me. The truth is otherwise. The party thinks and decides collectively,” he said.

Mr. Vijayan scotched reports that the Polit Bureau had disapproved of the CPI(M) State unit’s move to exclude Ms. Shailaja from the Cabinet. “I am not aware of such a decision,” he said.

Mr. Vijayan refused to elaborate on the allocation of ministerial berths. He said constitutional propriety demanded that the Chief Minister-designate submitted the list of the Council of Ministers to Governor Arif Muhammad Khan before making a public statement.

Mr. Vijayan said he planned to meet the Governor on Thursday morning. He said the administration would reveal the list of Ministers and their respective portfolios later.

Mr. Vijayan said the swearing-in would be a muted affair. Select invitees would sit spaced out in the expansive and airy Central stadium. The organisers would ensure that attendees strictly adhered to the COVID-19 protocol. Many invitees had graciously communicated that they would stay away from attending the event in person, given the pandemic.

The Chief Minister slammed the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) Opposition for deciding to boycott the swearing-in. He said the Opposition had a crucial role to play in a democracy. He said the decision to spurn a newly elected government at the start of its term smacked off an evident lack of political decorum.

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