If rumours are true, current Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja will be appointed the new Speaker of the 15th Kerala Legislative Assembly. If she is selected as speaker, Pinarayi Vijayan will be rewriting electoral history in the state, as Shailaja becomes the first woman Speaker in the history of the Kerala Legislature. There have been three women who have donned the role of Deputy Speaker, but no woman has made it to the Speaker’s chair. Vijayan is said to be expecting to win the harts of the women of Kerala, by placing Shailaja on the Speaker’s chair.
Shailaja, who garnered international acclaim for her department’s handling of the 2018 Nipah outbreak in Kerala also received acclaim for her leadership during the first wave of the Coronavirus pandemic.
She was described by the Guardian as the 'coronavirus slayer' and as 'rock star health minister'. She was featured as a ‘Vogue Warrior’ by Vogue magazine.
The former teacher won by over 60,000 votes from her constituency in Kannur. When asked if she would serve as the state’s health minister again? "Whether I will be the health minister again is something that will be decided when a decision by the cabinet is taken. So, I cannot be sure at the moment."
She added, "What I want to highlight is that we faced many challenges during our tenure. We had a devastating hurricane, floods, the Nipah virus, and COVID-19 pandemic but we rose to the occasion each time. The people saw this and were happy with the model of governance in Kerala and hence we have been voted to power again for the work we have done."
The party state secretariat and state committee meeting, scheduled in the coming days, will decide who the next ministers will be. Regardless of whether she sits in the Speaker’s chair, it is certain that Shailaja will continue to rock on in the roll of Kerala’s Health Minister.