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After relentless PR hailing KK Shailaja’s ‘Kerala Model’ of Covid care, Vijayan govt to get new health minister

Shailaja, a retired teacher, gained popularity as the health minister for the 'Kerala model' of battling the pandemic.

On May 18, Kerala’s newly elected LDF-led government dropped all ministers from the previous Cabinet in a bid to look for new faces, including health minister KK Shailaja who was lauded by ‘experts’ for handling the Covid-19 crisis in the state. Only Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is getting a second term from the old Cabinet. As per sources, she has been elected as Party Whip.

Shailaja and her term as health minister

Shailaja, a retired teacher, gained popularity as the health minister for the ‘Kerala model’ of battling the pandemic. She was lauded by national and international media lauded for her handling of the Covid-19 virus. In September last year, a UK-based magazine selected Shailaja as the “Top Thinker of the Year 2020”. After all that PR campaign, Kerala is poised to get a new health minister.

Nevertheless, the Kerala model of Covid-19 management has failed spectacularly. During the second wave of the pandemic, the state has been consistently reporting more than 25,000 cases a day. According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the maximum number of new cases reported by Kerala in a single day was on May 12 when the state reported over 43,000 cases in a single day.

LDF getting heat for changing health minister

Several experts have raised eyebrows at the decision made by the Kerala government to change the health minister in the middle of the Covid-19 crisis despite the failure of the ‘Kerala Model’.

Some called the decision to drop Shailaja as evidence of ‘sexism’.

On the other hand, reports suggested that CPIM said that it is part of their policy to have new members in the team. The Kerala government under Pinarayi Vijayan as CM will be sworn in on May 20. A total of 21 ministers will take oath on the day. The ceremony is expected to be low-key amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. Sources suggest that MB Rajesh has been nominated as a Speaker candidate.

CPI(M), the largest coalition partner in the LDF government, will have 12 members in the Cabinet. CPI will have four members, while Kerala Congress (M), Janata Dal (S), and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) will have one member each.

In the recent Kerala elections, LDF won 99 seats, beating Congress-led UDF and BJP-NDA. UDF managed to get 41 seats while NDA could not secure any seat in Kerala.

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OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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