The exclusion of KK Shailaja from the new Pinarayi Vijayan-led Kerala cabinet has shocked many. The CPI(M) has decided not to give ministers two consecutive terms.
Shailaja, popularly known as Teacher Amma, won plaudits for her handling of the Nipah outbreak and the COVID-19 pandemic in Kerala.
Having won from Mattannur by a majority of more than 6o,000 votes, Shailaja's exclusion led to social media uproar with #ShailajaTeacher trending on Twitter and actresses and Left supporters calling for her inclusion.
Many have compared Shailaja's exclusion to the infamous sidelining of KR Gouriamma for the CM's post by the CPI(M) in 1987 in favour of EK Nayanar.
Despite the public outcry, Shailaja has stuck with the party line and called the reactions as "emotional". She has been appointed as the CPI(M)'s chief whip in the Assembly.