Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who on Sunday created history by leading the Left Democratic Front government to retain power, will have a lot of work to do when he sits down to select his team, as he is short of seasoned veterans, especially from his own CPI-M.
Following the norm of not fielding all those CPI-M candidates who have had two successive terms, five veteran Ministers -- Thomas Issac (Finance), A.K. Balan (Law), G.Sudhakaran (Public Works), C.Raveendranth (Education), and E.P. Jayarajan (Industries) -- failed to get a ticket.
As many as 28 other party legislators were also not re-nominated.
However among the winning candidates are state Ministers Kadakampally Surendran (Tourism), M.M. Mani (Electricity), A.C.Moideen (Local Self Government), T.P. Ramakrishnan (Excise) and K.K. Shailaja (Health).
Fisheries Minister J. Mercykutty became the only minister to have lost the polls.
Higher Education Minister, K.T.Jaleel, though not a CPI-M party card holder, has also won and it remains to be seen if he will be re-inducted.
One sure certainty is the inclusion of M.V. Govindan, the closest aide of Vijayan.
Among those who Vijayan is likely to consider includes former Rajya Sabha members P. Rajiv and K.N. Balagopal, who both won on Sunday.
M.B.Rajesh, a two-time Lok Sabha member but who lost in the 2019, turned a giant killer when he defeated young Congress leader V.T. Balaram, aiming for a hat trick of wins, is also a possibility.
Film star-turned-CPI-M legislator Mukesh, who won for the second time in a row from Kollam, also stands a chance.
Among the women candidates, Shailaja is a sure certainty and like in 2016, one more seat will be there for a woman and contenders for this include journalist-turned-legislator Veena George who won for the second time, besides U. Prathibha who also won successive polls.
R.Bindhu, wife of acting CPI-M Secretary and Left Democratic Front convenor A. Vijayaraghavan, could be the dark horse.
All eyes are also on Mohammed Riyaz, the son-in-law of Vijayan, to see if he will get a berth as he won from Beypore with a handsome margin of over 20,000 votes, when an exit poll had predicted he would lose.
Former Speaker and also a former Minister K. Radhakrishnan can also be considered a near certainty as he is also a Central Committee member of the party besides hailing from the Scheduled Caste community.
It also remains to be seen if the CPI - the second-biggest constituent of the LDF, which had four ministers will get the same number, as their seats have come down from 19 to 16 this time.