THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Even as the state government extended the lockdown by another week, the swearing in of the second Left government will be held on May 20 itself. The CPM top leadership gave its nod to the LDF to go ahead with the plan. The swearing-in ceremony will be held at Central Stadium here at 3:30pm adhering to the COVID protocol.
About 80 people will be allowed for the function. Speaking at his evening media briefing on Friday, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said talks are being held to finalise how the function should be held amid the lockdown.
Meanwhile, talks are progressing in the Left front over cabinet formation. A final picture on ministers and portfolios would be clear after the bilateral talks on May 16. The Left front has arrived at a general consensus on increasing the number of cabinet berths to 21.
While the CPM will have 12 ministers, including the chief minister, in addition to the Speaker, the CPI will get four ministers and deputy speaker post, Kerala Congress (M) one minister and chief whip with cabinet rank, and NCP and JD(S) one ministerial berth each.
KB Ganesh Kumar of Kerala Congress(B) and Antony Raju of Democratic Kerala Congress are certain to get cabinet berths, but bestowing ministership on all single-member parties would not prove practical. However, talks are on within the front to explore ways to accommodate INL too.
Ramachandran Kadannappally of Congress (S) may not be included in the cabinet as of now. "We have been exploring various options including sharing two cabinet berths among four minor parties - KC(B), Democratic Kerala Congress, INL and Congress (S). However, no final decision has been taken," said a source.
After the week-long bilateral talks with allies, the Left front has begun a second round of talks on the cabinet formation and portfolio allocation. CPI state secretary Kanam Rajendran held talks with Pinarayi and CPM politburo member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan on Friday.
The CPM-CPI talks are aimed at finalising the portfolio allocation to each of its allies. Even before the polls, CPM had promised an important portfolio to the KC(M). There are reports that either PWD or Electricity - two portfolios now with the CPM - may go to Jose K Mani's party.
There are indications that three-four sitting ministers from the CPM may continue in the new government. Apart from CM Pinarayi, secretariat members, KK Shailaja, MM Mani and TP Ramakrishnan may continue.
Minister AC Moideen is also likely to get another term. Of the remaining, central committee members M V Govindan, K Radhakrishnan, secretariat members P Rajeev and KN Balagopal are sure to find a place in cabinet. Other probables include MB Rajesh, VN Vasavan, V Sivankutty, PP Chitharanjan and Veena George.