CPI stakes claim on four Cabinet posts

The Communist Party of India (CPI) has reportedly staked a claim on four Cabinet portfolios. By one account, the CPI has insisted on retaining Revenue, Agriculture, Forest and Food and Civil Supplies.

CPI State secretary Kanam Rajendran had engaged Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Communist Party of India (Marxist) leaders in the Cabinet formation talks at the AKG Centre here.

The consultation was close door and details sketchy. However, a CPI insider said Mr. Rajendran was insistent that the party retained the key portfolios. Its Ministers in the previous LDF government had acquitted themselves well and steered the departments clear of scandals and controversies.

The Kerala Congress (M) had staked a claim for the Revenue Department. However, the CPI felt that it had sacrificed enough to accommodate the new alliance partner. It had given up Kanjirapally to the KC(M) and did not get Changanassery in return. Nevertheless, the CPI was willing to concede the Chief Whip’s post to allies.

The CPI was likely to nominate a set of fresh faces to the Cabinet. They would possibly include a woman, given the party’s stress on gender equity. By one account, E. Chandrasekharan, former Revenue Minister, had an outside chance of making it to the Cabinet.

The Cabinet formation talks have picked up the pace at the AKG Centre here. The CPI(M) aspired to finalise the contours of the next Cabinet before the LDF convenes here on May 17. The LDF meeting would formalise the arrangement.

The CPI(M) would decide the party’s Cabinet members after the LDF meeting. It had hinted that several new faces would find themselves in the Cabinet.

The CPI(M) is scheduled to hold talks with K.B. Ganesh Kumar of the Kerala Congress (B) and Antony Raju of the Kerala Congress (Secular). Both have evinced interest in joining the Cabinet.

Mr. Ganesh, a four-time legislator from Pathanapuram, had held Forest and Transport portfolios in the previous UDF governments. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) was a serious contender for a Cabinet post and Janata Dal (Secular) legislator and former Minister K. Krishnankutty. However, the chance of single legislator parties landing a Cabinet berth appeared remote.

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Printable version | Jun 21, 2021 4:56:07 PM |

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