Debating India

KERALA

19-member LDF Cabinet assumes office today

Thursday 18 May 2006, by GOURIDASAN NAIR*C.

New crop of leaders to take the reins of power

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A 19-member Left Democratic Front (LDF) Government, headed by CPI(M) Polit Bureau member V.S. Achuthanandan, will take office at a swearing-in ceremony here on Thursday evening.

Seventeen out of the 19 members of the Cabinet are becoming Ministers for the first time. Apart from Mr. Achuthanandan, who is himself a first-timer, the other members of the Cabinet are: Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, Paloli Mohammed Kutty, M.A. Baby, T.M. Thomas Isaac, P.K. Gurudasan, P.K. Sreemathy, S. Sarma, M. Vijayakumar , G. Sudhakaran , Elamaram Karim and A.K. Balan (CPI-M), K.P. Rajendran, C. Divakaran, Benoy Viswom and Mullakkara Ratnakaran (CPI), P.J. Joseph (KC-J) and N. K. Premachandran (RSP) and Mathew T. Thomas (JD-S). K. Radhakrishnan of the CPI(M) has been chosen to be the Speaker and Jose Baby of the CPI to be the Deputy Speaker. The new MLAs will be sworn in on May 24 and 25.

At Central Stadium

The new Government will be sworn in at the Central Stadium, behind the State Secretariat. It is for the first time that a government is assuming office outside Raj Bhavan. Governor R. L. Bhatia invited Mr. Achuthanandan to form the new Government when he called on the Governor after being elected leader of the CPI(M) Legislature Party on Wednesday morning. Besides formally staking claim to form the Government, he also submitted to the Governor letters of support from leaders of various LDF allies. The LDF’s government formation efforts on Wednesday were not smooth and the sharing of portfolios within the CPI(M) and the LDF shows that all the major portfolios would lie with the Pinarayi faction in the CPI(M). Trouble arose at the LDF State committee with an angry CPI striking a rebellious posture and threatening to stay away from the swearing-in ceremony to protest against the CPI(M) move to take away the Deputy Speaker post and Tourism and Law from them. They were later mollified with Forest and Housing and the Deputy Speaker post. The JD(S) was also able to wrest Printing and Stationary, in addition to Transport, after tough negotiations. But there was no such luck for the RSP, which had to be satisfied with Water Resources. The smaller partners, Congress (S) and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) will not have representation in the Cabinet. The LDF State committee and the CPI(M) State secretariat had to meet twice to break the deadlock in portfolio allocation. At its first meeting, the smaller partners expressed their anger and anguish at the manner at the harsh treatment meted out to them by the CPI(M) leadership and wanted their views to be recorded. The second meeting was called at the instance of the CPI, which wanted allocation of additional portfolios to it by the CPI(M) to be formally announced in the forum of the LDF.

See online : The Hindu

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