Pinarayi Vijayan | Photo: Mathrubhumi
Thiruvananthapuram: The ruling CPM in Kerala on Saturday said that its personal staff's strength is far less than that of Oommen Chandy government during 2011-16.
The clarification comes in the wake of criticism over reappointing personal staff of State Minister for Fisheries Saji Cherian, who resigned early this month, in the offices of other state ministers.
Both the Pinarayi Vijayan and Oommen Chandy government had 21 cabinet ministers.
Substantiating its claims with figures, the state government said while the Chandy government had 612 personal staff members, the first Pinarayi Vijayan government (2016-21) had 448 and his second government that assumed office in May 2021 now has 489 staff members.
Cherian handled three portfolios -- Culture, Fisheries and Youth Welfare -- which have been distributed among V.N.Vasavan, V.Abdurehman and P.A. Mohammed Riyas respectively. Along with the portfolios, 17 of Cherian's personal staff members have also been absorbed in the offices of these three ministers.
When Cherian had 24 staff members, four of them who came from deputation have returned to their parent department, while three of them have been dropped, it said.
Currently, Vijayan leads with 33 personal staff members, followed by his son-in-law P.A.Mohammed Riyas and Abdurehman who both have 28 each and State Transport Minister Antony Raju has the least with 19 members.
As per the rules, all personal staff are eligible for lifelong pension and other benefits upon completion of two years. Hence, there is always a mad scramble to get absorbed as staff ministers' staff.