Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) veteran Pinarayi Vijayan took oath as the Chief Minister of Kerala on on Wednesday (May 25).
The 72-year-old, along with 18 members of his Left Democratic Front (LDF) government Cabinet, was administered oath by Governor P. Sathasivam at the Central Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram.
After the swearing-in ceremony, Vijayan lost no time and immediately got back to work.
“Left Democratic Front (LDF) government’s maiden cabinet meeting held; took first step towards #JusticeForJisha….,” he tweeted late Wednesday.
Pertinently, on Apr 28, 31-year-old Dalit woman Jisha was found murdered at her residence at Perumbavoor in Ernakulam.
She allegedly had over 30 stab marks on her body and initial investigation reportedly claimed that she was sexually brutalized before her murder.
Reportedly, the new government has handed over the probe to a new SIT team headed by ADGP B Sandhya.
Now as Vijayan has assumed office, the political road ahead might not be a bed of roses for him as he has to constantly maintain a balanced relationship with the Left leaders in the state as well as the Modi-led BJP government at the Centre.
Here are 10 facts about Vijayan that you would like to know:
1. Vijayan won the Kerala legislative assembly polls on the CPI-M ticket from the Dharmadom constituency.
2. He won the confidence of his party who picked him over veteran 92-year-old leader V. S. Achuthanandan for the CM’s post on May 20.
3. Born on Mar 21, 1944, in a poor family at Pinarayi in Kannur district, Vijayan worked as a handloom weaver for one year before joining the Government Brennen College, Thalassery for pre–university course and degree course.
4. He joined students’ politics when in college and became Kannur district secretary of the Kerala Students Federation (KSF), now known as the Students’ Federation of India (SFI).
5. He was longest serving secretary in the history of CPI-M. His tenure as the CPI-M Kerala State Committee secretary dates from 1998 to 2015.
6. He was elected to the state assembly in 1970, 1977 and 1991 from Koothuparamba constituency and in 1996 from Payyannur seat.
7. Vijayan was the Minister of Electric Power and Cooperatives from 1996 to 1998.
8. He was accused of being involved in the SNC Lavalin scam, where investigating agencies found financial irregularities worth Rs 375 crore during awarding of contracts for the renovation of hydro-electric power stations at Pallivasal (37.5 mw), Sengulam (48 mw) and Panniar (30 mw).
The power plants were installed in Idukki district between 1940 and 1964. However, he was acquitted by the Special CBI court.
9. He, along with Achuthanandan, was suspended from the CPI-M Politburo on May 26, 2007 for public mudslinging at each other over the SNC Lavalin scam. Vijayan was later reinstated in the Politburo.
10. In 2009, Vijayan was involved in another controversy when photos of his alleged “new palatial bungalow” went viral.
It was later found that the photos were not of his house. But by then, he had already faced much criticism for the opulence visible in the photos.
Sreya is based in Kolkata. She is a Senior Editor of Big Wire.