Marking a rarity in Kerala politics, the second Pinarayi Vijayan ministry will be sworn into power on Thursday. Our best wishes to the new government, the cabinet, and its leader. In the present scenario with the pandemic, a cyclone, floods, and economic crises, people have a lot of hope and expectations of the government. We wish the government well in fulfilling them as well. The constituent parties have decided on their nominees in the cabinet. The main parties, the CPM and the CPI, have decided to give priority to newcomers. While the CPI will have all new ministers, the CPM has replaced everyone from the previous cabinet except the Chief Minister.
Indeed it is the organizational structure of the Communist parties that enable them to reach such a decision, stand firm on it and carry it out without any problems. The party did not hesitate to replace even Health Minister KK Shailaja who had acquired a celebrity status with her handling of the pandemic. The party has been able to overcome public dissent on this score without much inconvenience. Approaches such as giving representation to all comrades in the parliamentary sphere and in positions of authority, and assuring that power is not limited to a few, are welcome. There are important lessons for UDF constituents including the Congress and Muslim League in this. Can they make such a decision? They must self interrogate if indeed they were to go for such a decision they could go ahead smoothly. The cabinet minister list of both parties proves that they have succeeded in placing the party above positions of power.
There will definitely be plenty of energy and enthusiasm when the cabinet is filled with new faces. It's also notable that the faces aren't just 'new'; there is ample representation from the youth as well. Their enthusiasm can be expected to positively influence the overall functioning of the ministry. At the same time, experience is just as important as novelty, and there is apprehension about whether the lack of it will affect the government's performance. Some would counter this by saying that those apprehensions are unfounded with an experienced chief minister at the helm. This is for the government to prove through their work. Overall, It is a fact that the selection of the cabinet has caused ripples of energy and excitement.
Any analysis of power structures includes a discussion of its representation, particularly in a pluralistic society like ours. From that perspective, in the current era where representational politics is key, the new ministry has some weaknesses. It is reassuring that three women are being ministers. CPI has a woman minister for the first time since the Communist party's split in 1964. It is a party that has conveniently escaped social auditing all this while. At the same time, there is also criticism that the other CPI ministers are all from upper caste communities. Considering the cabinet as a whole, the forward/upper caste communities have been given more representation than proportionate to their population. The state's largest minority community, Muslims, has not been given this proportional representation either. The standard response would be that this is not how Communist parties work. This argument that they are above considerations of caste and religious communities will not hold today when ideas like positive discrimination and affirmative action are important, and it will be a topic of discussion. It is not easy to convince how those in power in a left wing government are the same communities who are dominant in our society. Kasargod and Wayanad districts, which face the worst development discrimination in the state, are not represented in the cabinet. Therefore, such problems can be addressed only by giving special consideration to under-represented communities and geographical areas. this. It is hoped that the government will pay attention to this aspect too.