September 30, 2022

Thiruvananthapuram, Sep 6: Two-time former Lok Sabha member and first-time legislator M.B. Rajesh, who was the Speaker of the Kerala Assembly till last week, was on Tuesday sworn-in as a Minister in the second Pinarayi Vijayan government.

The reason behind this rejig was the quitting of State Minister for Excise and LSG, M.V. Govindan from the cabinet. Govindan became the new CPI-M state secretary replacing Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, who stepped down due to ill-health.

On Tuesday morning, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan read out the oath to Rajesh in the presence of Chief Minister Vijayan.

With regards to the portfolio, it remains to be seen if Vijayan will hand over both the portfolios that Govindan handled to Rajesh. Speculation is that the excise department will be handed over to State Cooperation Minister V.N. Vasavan and in lieu, the Culture portfolio will be given to Rajesh.

Rajesh rose from the student politics and has been very active in the youth wing of the CPI-M. He was fielded from the Palakkad Lok Sabha constituency and won successive terms. His hat-trick was thwarted in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

But, in the 2021 Assembly polls, he turned out to be a giant killer when he humbled young Congress leader V.T. Balaram, who was aiming a hat-trick wins from the Thrithala Assembly constituency in Palakkad district.

Rajesh like most of the CPI-M leaders of his era is known for his articulate nature and was often seen taking active part in TV debates till he became the Speaker.

Recently, he had to face the heat following the appointment of his wife as a teacher at the Kalady Sanskrit University last year after allegations surfaced of irregularity in the appointment.

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