State panel’s decision to drop Shailaja: CPI (M)

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury. File   | Photo Credit: Thulasi Kakkat

The central leadership of the CPI(M) chose not to criticise the decision to drop K.K. Shailaja from the Cabinet in the second term of the Pinarayi Vijayan government, putting the onus instead on the State committee.

Also read: CPI(M), CPI meet to name their Ministers in next Pinarayi Vijayan govt.

As the Health Minister, Ms. Shailaja had gained international acclaim for her handling of first the Nipah and later the pandemic. She will now take charge as the party whip in the Assembly.

Party general secretary Sitaram Yechury told The Hindu, “The decision concerning elected CPI(M) MLAs and formation of the Cabinet are matters decided by the party’s State committee. The State committee discussed the issue and came to a unanimous decision.”

Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat also took a similar line. In a carefully worded comment she said, “In our party, the decision to choose the Ministers is the prerogative of the State committee. And it is for them to give an explanation and answer the questions which are being raised by their decision.”

The party insiders indicate that the central leadership is also not thrilled at the selection of Mr. Vijayan’s son-in-law Mohammed Riyas and acting State secretary A. Vijayaraghavan’s wife R Bindu.

Interestingly, the party mouthpiece People’s Democracy, edited by former general secretary Prakash Karat, berated the media for trying to reduce the party’s historic victory solely to the personality and role of Mr. Vijayan. The victory, the editorial said, “is the result of both individual and collective efforts”.

Outside the party, there are few even within the larger Left family who find merit in the decision to drop Ms. Shailaja. CPI(ML) Polit Bureau member Kavita Krishnan said the decision is baffling and other than subjective interests that are at play, nothing else explains it. She asked, “Why would you change an able Health Minister in the middle of a pandemic?”

CPI (ML) general secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya tweeted, “Old CM, New Cabinet! Internationally acclaimed health minister #KKShailaja is missing in #Kerala cabinet. What’s really happening? We read in People’s Democracy about the ‘collective’ element in LDF’s rare successive Kerala win, did we miss something?”

General secretary of the National Federation of Indian Women associated with the CPI Annie Raja called the decision deeply disappointing. “There are two aspects. One, their logic that Shailaja teacher has to be replaced because none of the old faces have been retained is flawed. Affirmative action has to be taken for gender justice. Second, the CPI(M) has not increased its tally of women Ministers, last time around also they had two and this time too they have the same number,” she said.

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Printable version | Jun 13, 2021 5:06:30 AM |

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