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Achuthanandan to be sworn in Kerala CM on May 18

Written by: Staff
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Thiruvananthapuram, May 15: Eightytwo-year-old veteran communist V S Achuthanandan will be sworn in as the next Chief Minister of Kerala on May 18.

The state committee of the CPI(M) unanimously elected Mr Achuthanandan to head the government, the party said in a statement here.

Emerging out from the AKG Centre, the party state headquarters here, Mr Achuthanandan told mediapersons that the swearing-in would be held on May 18 at 1600 hrs at the Chandraseksharan Nair Stadium.

The strength of the Cabinet and other details would be finalised at the meeting of the Left Democratic Front (LDF) on May 17, he said, but evaded a reply on whether the crucial Home portfolio would be retained by him.

According to the statement, the state committee meeting today, presided over by senior leader M A Baby, was attended by CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat and Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury.

State Secretary Pinarayi Vijayan proposed the structure of the Cabinet, which was approved by the state committee unanimously.

Mr Achuthanandan, a two-time Leader of the Opposition in Kerala, was given the mantle to head the government as he is generally considered to be the architect of the spectacular victory of the Left Democratic Front in the three-tier Assembly elections.

The LDF got 98 out of the 140 seats, throwing the Congress-led United Democratic Front out of power.

Even though the State Committee could reach a consensus on the Chief Minister post, it could not make an official announcement on the other ministers from the party and their portfolios. Party sources said some of the members had serious reservation against alloting the crucial Home Portfolio to the Chief Minister and they proposed Mr Kodiyeri Balakrishnan for the post.

Though the results were announced on May eleven, reported factionalism in the party was pointed out to be the main reason for the delay in finalising the number of ministers and their portfolios. The reported decision of the party State Secretariat, which met yesterday, in allowing eight Secretariat members to become ministers had also invited strong criticism as majority of them belonged to the faction identified with party State Secretary Pinarayi Vijayan.

The CPI(M) is likely to take 12 ministerial berths in a possible 18-member Cabinet leaving the remaining to other LDF constituents.

Meanwhile, the CPI, the second largest constituent of the (LDF) decided to stake claim for four ministerial berths for the party.

The party has reportedly finalised its nominees for the Cabinet posts and the list is expected to announce after the LDF meeting on May 17.

The RSP, another LDF constituent, had already announced the name of Mr N K Premachandran to be its representative in the Cabinet.

The Kerala Congress (Joseph) has elected Mr P J Joseph as its legislature party leader and he is likely to find a place in the Cabinet. The Janata Dal (S) is yet to decide its nominees for berths in the Cabinet.

The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress (S), two other LDF constituents, are also likely to get Cabinet berths.

UNI

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