Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will finally take the oath of office on May 20 in the presence of Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan. However, details about the newly re-elected LDF cabinet ministry are yet to emerge. The swearing-in has been fixed to be held outdoors at the Central Stadium with the maximum number of people who will be allowed to grace the occasion set at 750 according to COVID-19 protocols in place.
When asked about this, Vijayan said, yes, talks are going on as the meeting of the Left Democratic Front (LDF) is fixed for next week and after that, the decision will be made.
The historic re-election of the LDF to power in 99 seats across the state has left the party undecided on the exact number of ministers to induct into the new cabinet. According to the rules including the CM's post, Vijayan can have a maximum of 21 ministers, having previously fixed it at 20 in 2016 due to austerity measures.
In the outgoing Vijayan cabinet, the CPI-M had 12 ministers and the Chief Minister's post, the second biggest ally CPI had four and one each for Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Congress (S) and Janata Dal (S). However, this time the Left has given full-fledged ally status to Kerala Congress (B), Indian National League (INL) besides two new allies who jumped the fence from the Congress-led Opposition - Kerala Congress (Mani) and Loktantrik, Janata Dal.
Political pundits do not doubt that it will be Pinarayi Vijayan who is the deciding factor in the final say for who gets to cut. It remains to be seen how many of the single legislator allies of the LDF will get a cabinet post.
Even though the first round of talks with all the allies have been completed by Vijayan, Kerala Congress (Mani) with five legislators is hopeful that they might get 2 cabinet ministers although the initial offer was rejected. Opinions have also arisen that K.K Shailaja, Health Minister in the outgoing cabinet, be made Deputy Chief Minister.