Meet Veena George: The woman Set To Replace KK Shailaja As Kerala Health Minister

Journalist-turned-politician Veena George will helm Kerala's Health Ministry in the successive LDF cabinet, replacing KK Shailaja at a time when the state is witnessing an unprecedented Covid-19 surge.

Meet Veena George: The woman Set To Replace KK Shailaja As Kerala Health Minister
Veena George
Meet Veena George: The woman Set To Replace KK Shailaja As Kerala Health Minister

Thiruvanthapuram: Journalist-turned-politician Veena George will replace KK Shailaja as Kerala’s health minister. The exclusion of KK Shailaja, who had won global acclaim for her deft leadership in checking the Covid-19 surge, from the cabinet at a time when the state is witnessing an unprecedented Covid-19 surge has raised eyebrows in various sections of society. A section of international media had earlier described Shailaja as a ”rockstar” health minister. 

Who is Veena George?

  • George, a two-time legislator, represents the Aranmula constituency in the state assembly.
  • She is 45-years-old and a mother to two. George is expected has to match up to Shaialaja’s work in covid management.
  • She is known for her leadership qualities, well-articulated speech, and mature interactions. Her name was being widely speculated for the challenging post since the Marxist party began discussion for portfolio allocation.
  • Following her induction in the Pinarayi Vijayan-led LDF coalition cabinet, George became the first woman journalist to reach the position in the southern state.
  • Wresting of Aranmula, a traditional Congress fort in Pathanamthitta, in 2016 assembly polls and retaining the seat with a remarkable margin of 19,000 votes in the April 6 polls were considered to be among several other factors that helped her to cement a cabinet berth.
  • A surprise entrant in the poll fray, George had defeated her nearest rival Sivadasan Nair of Congress by a margin of 7,646 votes in the 2016 election.
  • She unsuccessfully contested in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
  • Her able leadership was widely praised during the time of flood relief in Pathanamthitta in 2018 and 2019.
  • As a TV personality, she was the co-presenter of “Naam Munnott”, the television programme in which Vijayan used to interact with select audience.
  • Before plunging into politics, she had a striking career in visual media for over 15 years as she had been an established news anchor in prominent Malayalam channels including Manorama News and Reporter TV.
  • A mother of two, George was noted for her in-depth questions and political analyses during her TV media stint and won several awards also for journalistic excellence.
  • A rank holder of MSc (Physics) and B.Ed, George began her political career as an activist of Students Federation of India (SFI), a wing of the CPI(M).
  • She also tried her hand at teaching for a short period before beginning the media career.

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