Who is Veena George? All you need to know about Kerala's new health minister

After clinching victory in Kerala's assembly elections, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and his fresh cabinet ministers today took the oath at Thiruvananthapuram Central Stadium. Pinarayi Vijayan dropped all the previous sitting ministers including global covid face KK Shailaja and picked up new faces for the new cabinet. No wonder, there were debates sparking after removal of former health minister KK Shailaja especially at a time when the state is going through COVID-19 crisis.

However there had been anticipation for who will be succedding Shailaja's role as health minister. There were speculations going around that CPM MLA Veena George will take over the role and finally she took oath today as Kerala's Health, Women and Child and Social Justice Minister. Notably, she's Kerala’s first woman journalist-turned-politician.

Veena Goerge's earlier life and career:

Born in Thiruvananthapuram, on 3 August 1976, George is a rank holder in MSc (Physics) and BEd. Her first experience with politics was as an activist of Student Federation of India (SFI), the student wing of CPI(M).

However, prior to entering mainstream electoral politics in Kerala (in 2016), she worked as a journalist with popular Malayalam news channels like Kairali TV, Manorama News and Reporter TV. Her journalism career began as a journalist trainee at Kariali TV and her final job in the field was as the Executive Editor of TV New.

How Veena George entered into mainstream politics:

In 2016, George entered electoral politics and bagged a victory from Aranmula Assembly seat, after defeating Congress veteran K Sivadasan Nair. Five years later, she was re-elected from the same constituency in the Pathanamthitta district after defeating Congress’ Sivadasan Nair by a margin of 7,646 votes.

In 2019 General Election, however, she lost to Anto Antony of the Indian National Congress. However, this year, she repeated a victory from Aranmula and has cemented a place in the cabinet with a prized portfolio.

Personal life:

Miss Veena is married to Dr George Joseph, a higher secondary school teacher and has served as secretary of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church. They have two children.

Besides George, two other women will also become ministers in the new government. While CPI(M) has nominated Prof R Bindu, wife of CPI (M) acting secretary A Vijayaraghavan, CPI has selected its senior leader and Chadayamangalam MLA J Chinchu Rani to represent the party in the cabinet.

The ruling LDF had swept the April 6 polls, winning 99 of the 140 seats giving Pinarayi Vijayan an unprecedented second term.

The second Pinarayi Vijayan government, which comes to power bucking the four- decade-old trend of alternate front rule in Kerala, has a 21-member-strong cabinet with a handful of first-time legislators and three women members, the highest in recent time.

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