Thiruvananthapuram | Jagran Politics Desk: Days after his thumping victory in the recently concluded Kerala Assembly Elections 2021, Left Democratic Front (LDF) leader Pinarayi Vijayan was on Thursday sworn-in as the chief minister of the state for the second time amid strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols. He was administered the oath of office by Governor Arif Mohammad Khan at the Central Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram.

The opposition, however, didn't attend the oath-taking ceremony of the Marxist veteran after the Kerala High Court directed the government to restrict the number of participants in the ceremony in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Though states like West Bengal and Tamil Nadu, with more number of legislators in the Assembly have performed the swearing-in ceremony with lesser number, the government of Kerala, a forerunner in Covid-19 management, should restrict the number to the maximum to avoid the spread of Covid-19," the court had said.

Meanwhile, Vijayan was appointed as the CPI(M) parliamentary party leader on Tuesday. Apart from Vijayan, the CPI(M) said that party leaders MV Govindan, K Radhakrishnan, KN Balagopal, P Rajeev, VN Vasavan, Saji Cherian, V Sivankutty, Mohammad Riyas, Dr R Bindu, Veena George and V Abdul Rahman will be a part of the new Kerala cabinet.

However, the CPI(M) dropped Health Minister KK Shailaja, who was widely praised for her handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, from the new cabinet. Speaking about Shailaja's exclusion, Vijayan had said that the decision was made by the party.

"It is a valid question that is being asked on why I am continuing for a second term, while no other cabinet colleagues are there... it is because that was the decision of our party," he said, as reported by news agency IANS.

"The party decided that let there be a new team of cabinet ministers from the CPI-M and it was adhered to. All the ministers from my party in the outgoing cabinet performed very well and hence to give exemption to any would not look good and hence, the decision was made," he added.

The CPI(M)-led LDF retained power in Kerala by winning 99 seats against 41 seats of Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) in the Assembly polls. BJP, on other hand, could not win any seat.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma