As Pinarayi Vijayan began his second innings as Chief Minister of Kerala with an all-new team of ministers, Opposition Congress is struggling to arrive at a consensus on the new Leader of Opposition in the Assembly. V D Satheesan is the front-runner, with most newly elected Congress MLAs having favoured a generational change. Satheesan’s performance as an MLA in the House was appreciated by many, but former CM Oommen Chandy is said to be in favour of Ramesh Chennithala continuing as the Leader of Opposition. Although leaders of rival groups in state Congress, Chandy and Chennithala would not relish the elevation of Satheesan — or for that matter K Sudhakaran as state Congress chief, replacing Mullappally Ramachandran — as that would mean a snub to the conventional group politics in the party’s state unit. Both Satheesan and Sudhakaran have operated outside the confines of group politics.
With Delhi hit hard by the pandemic over the last few weeks, the Ministry of Home Affairs has demarcated a special office in the NDCC building on Jai Singh Marg as a contingency room for Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla. Although Bhalla’s office is in North Block, this separate office space has been created in case North Block has a wider spread of the virus. As head of the disaster management apparatus, the Home Secretary needs to remain functional all the time.
The pandemic has impacted judicial functioning for over a year now, and its effects are being felt beyond just virtual courts. With several administrative officials of the Supreme Court down with Covid-19, there was a significant delay in making recommendations of the collegium public. The collegium’s recommendations for appointment of judges to Madhya Pradesh and Gauhati High Courts was published late on Wednesday, although the decision was taken on May 4.