Thiruvananthapuram: The generational shift in both the ruling LDF and opposition UDF reflects in the new seating arrangement in the Kerala Assembly.
Apart from the chief minister and ministers of two allied parties, the new faces of the ruling front are seated in the first two rows of the treasury benches side, while the former ministers found themselves in the third row.
As the CPM veteran V S Achuthanandan, who used to sit in the front row, is not part of the Assembly this time, that seat has been given to Finance Minister K N Balagopal. The Speaker can change the seating arrangement, that had been assigned temporarily on Monday, but any major changes are unlikely.
During the last Assembly, E P Jayarajan occupied the seat next to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. Now, CPM central committee member M V Govindan has been allotted.
CPM minister K Radhakrishnan, ministers of allied parties K Rajan, Roshy Augustine, K Krishnankutty, A K Saseendran and leaders of coalition partners E Chandrasekharan and N Jayaraj are in the front row of the ruling front.
Industries Minister P Rajeev has been seated first in the second row. P Prasad, Ahamed Devarkovil, R Bindu, V N Vasavan, Saji Cherian, V Sivankutty, P A Mohammed Riyas and J Chinchurani are the ministers in the second row. Mathew T Thomas and K B Ganesh Kumar are also in this row.
As the seating arrangement is in line with the social distancing norms and the number of ministers has been increased to 21, Ministers Antony Raju, Veena George and V Abdurahiman had to shift to the third row. This is for the first time that ministers are in the third row of the Assembly. The others in the third row are former ministers. Other MLAs take up the seats in the last two rows.
Change in the opposition benches too
Ramesh Chennithala had been previously in the second seat of the front row in the opposition benches. However, this seat has been given to the current opposition leader V D Satheesan. Chennithala has moved to the first seat on the second row, which had been previously occupied by Congress deputy leader K C Joseph.
The Deputy Speaker is yet to be elected who would take the first seat of the front row in the opposition benches. IUML leader P K Kunhalikutty was in the third seat during the last Assembly. When he resigned and became part of the Lok Sabha, M K Muneer took this seat. Now, with Kunhalikutty back in the same seat at the Kerala Assembly, Muneer has shifted to the second row.
The others in the front row are P J Joseph, Anoop Jacob and Oommen Chandy. Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, P T Thomas and K P A Majeed have been given seats in the second row in the opposition benches. Other MLAs have taken the back rows.
The youth of the UDF, who are in the forefront of the opposition protests, are seated next to each other, akin to the previous time. C R Mahesh, P C Vishnunath, T Siddique, Mathew Kuzhalnadan and Saneesh Kumar Joseph have been seated thus. The BJP does not have any members in the Assembly this time.