THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Senior CPM leader EP Jayarajan will assume office as the 20th minister in Pinarayi Vijayan's cabinet on Tuesday. It's the CPM central committee member's re-entry to the cabinet as Industries minister after being forced to bow out over nepotism charges in October 2016.
The Left Front meeting on Monday issued its official nod for CPM to have one more minister in EP Jayarajan while the CPI will get Chief Whip position with Cabinet rank. Jayarajan will swear in before Governor P Sathasivam at Kerala Raj Bhvan on Tuesday at 10 am.
LDF convener A Vijayaraghavn announced the Front's decision to accept CPM's proposal. Responding to questions, Vijayaraghavan maintained that the CPI had not asked for any position including Chief Whip in return.
The CPI will finalise the Chief Whip by August 20 during its state executive. The LDF meet also decided to expand the Left front by including more parties.
Reports about Jayarajan's re-entry into the Left government have been in the air ever since the court acquitted him in the nepotism case. Recently when NCP's AK Saseendran, who resigned over the sleaze talk row in March 2017, returned as Transport Minister, the demands again gained momentum.
The CPM state committee meet last week decided to propose Jayarajan's name for LDF's clearance. The CPM has also proposed changes in the portfolios held by some CPM ministers when Jayarajan takes over as Industries minister.
Though CPM claims that the rejig has nothing to do with ministers' performance, it's evident that the reshuffle reflects the poor performance of a few ministers. Education minister C Ravendranath has ended up losing Higher Education portfolio to KT Jaleel, who will be taken out of the LSGD portfolio.
Though Kerala can have up to 21 minisetrs as per Central norms, while assuming office the Left government decided to limit it to 19. The two-year-old Left government has already seen a couple of new faces - CPM's MM Mani and NCP's Thomas Chandy. Of this, Thomas Chandy, who took over after Saseendran resigned, later quit paving way for Saseendran's return.