Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is likely to leave for treatment in the US in September first or second week, as “his condition requires urgent medical attention”. His trip to the US was delayed due to the recent floods that ravaged the state. According to sources close to Chief Minister’s Office, officials have been instructed to complete the formalities for his trip and are in touch with the Ministry of External Affairs. In his absence, newly sworn-in Minister and Kannur muscleman EP Jayarajan will be in charge. With this, he will become the Number Two in the Cabinet.
Jayarajan, a confidante of Pinarayi, has been sworn-in hurriedly for this purpose, said the sources mentioned above. Though, technically, Finance Minister Thomas Isaac is the second-in-command in terms of seniority, there exists a ‘cold war’ between Pinarayi and Isaac. Many of the files sent by Isaac have hit “the CMO wall”. “Similarly, Pinarayi is upset with Isaac, as the latter creates roadblocks in the implementation of some of his decisions,” said a source. Moreover, Jayarajan is the key figure in the Kannur lobby that controls the party with an iron fist.
Although details of his ailment are kept secret, it is believed that he suffers from prostate cancer. “He could have undergone treatment in Apollo Hospital in Chennai. But he opted for the US because he doesn’t want details of his medical condition leaked,” said the source.
Pinarayi’s move to undergo treatment in the US, a capitalist country, had invited sarcastic remarks in the social media. “At the time of Gorakhpur tragedy, Pinarayi had ridiculed UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and asked him to learn from Kerala how to manage the health sector. Now, why is he going to the US if Kerala is the Number 1 in terms of healthcare,” asks a netizen.