Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan
Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan

Ahead of the swearing in ceremony of the Kerala Cabinet Ministers at the state capital Thiruvananthapuram on May 20, a lawyer has written to Kerala HC Chief Justice asking to take up suo motu proceedings against swearing-in ceremony of the Kerala govt 'to protect lives of citizens' amid COVID-19 pandemic. However, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had said that maximum 500 people will be allowed at the swearing-in ceremony.

Given the current COVID-19 situation, Kerala's capital city Thiruvananthapuram is under triple lockdown.

The petition filed by KM Shajahan, a political activist, calls the decision for holding physical ceremony as "a clear instance of fence grazing the crops", which can result in the putting the health of people in jeopardy.

As per a Live-Law report, the petition filed against this decision seeks to direct state of Kerala to call off the physical swearing-in ceremony, or in the alternative to limit the attendance as 75 persons or to hold the function virtually.

On May 17, the Pinarayi Vijayan led government had issued an order stating relaxation for holding swearing in ceremony of the newly elected cabinet ministers at the Thiruvananthapuram Central Stadium on May 20, allowing 500 persons to attend the function provided they have negative RTPCR results or certificate of having taken two doses of COVID vaccination.

The function would be held in the presence of 500 invited guests at the stadium, which has the capacity to hold 50,000 people.

Besides 140 newly elected MLAs, 29 members of Parliament of the state, representatives of the judiciary and the media would be invited for the function.

Days after leading the ruling LDF to a stupendous electoral victory, CPI (M) veteran Pinarayi Vijayan was on Tuesday elected its Parliamentary Party Leader for a second term as Chief Minister but the omission of 'rockstar' health minister KK Shailaja from the new cabinet sparked a debate.

Having won international accolades for her deft handling of the first wave of Covid-19 in Kerala after it reported India's first case in 2020, Shailaja's surprise omission drew instant comparisons with the late KR Gowri Amma, the firebrand Marxist who was once tipped to head the state but never did.

The new Kerala government will be run by a slew of fresh faces with the exception of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. TP Ramakrishnan has also been appointed as the Parliamentary Party Secretary. While Vijayan remains the parliamentary party leader, the list of ministers now includes MV Govindan, K Radhakrishnan, KN Balagopal, P Rajeev, VN Vasavan, Saji Cherian, V Sivankutty, Mohd Riyas, Dr R Bindu, Veena George and V Abdul Rahman.

Vijayan had scripted history in the April 6 Assembly polls by leading the ruling Left front to a consecutive term, bucking the over four-decade-old trend in the state of the people choosing between the Communists and Congress-led governments alternatively.

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Free Press Journal