Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday took oath as the chief minister of Kerala for the second time. Twenty other leaders are scheduled to be sworn in as ministers. Governor Arif Mohammad Khan administered the oaths.

Communist Party of India leader K Rajan will be Kerala’s new revenue minister, KN Balagopal will take over the finance ministry, while P Prasad will take over the agriculture portfolio, The Indian Express reported. Janata Dal (Secular) leader K Krishnankutty will be the state’s power minister.

MLA Veena George is expected to replace KK Shailaja as the health minister, NDTV reported. The CPI(M) has been criticised for dropping Shailaja from the new Cabinet, despite her praiseworthy record in handling of the Covid-19 and Nipah outbreaks in the state.

“Together, let us realise a people’s alternative, and build a Nava Keralam [new Kerala],” Vijayan tweeted after taking oath.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin congratulated Vijayan for his second successive term in Kerala.

The CPI(M) will have 12 ministers in the new Cabinet, while the Communist Party of India will have four ministers. Allies Kerala Congress (M), Indian National League, Democratic Kerala Congress, Nationalist Congress Party and Janata Dal (S), will have one minister each, according to The Indian Express.

MB Rajesh of the CPI(M) will be the speaker of the Assembly, while Chittayam Gopakumar of the CPI, the deputy speaker. Seventeen of the 20 ministers have been inducted into the state Cabinet for the first time, while 10 of them are first-time MLAs.

On Wednesday, the Kerala High Court had allowed the government to hold its oath-taking ceremony physically amid the coronavirus crisis. It, however, urged the state government to reduce the number of participants at the ceremony.

The opposition United Democratic Front had said that it won’t attend the ceremony physically in view of the coronavirus crisis, but would participate virtually.

The Left Democratic Front retained power in the Kerala after the Assembly elections that were held on April 6. The results were declared on May 2.