Thiruvananthapuram, May 25 (IANS) CPI-M politburo member Pinarayi Vijayan, 71, was on Wednesday administered oath as the 22nd chief minister of Kerala at the Central Stadium here by Governor P. Sathasivam.
Also sworn-in were 18 cabinet ministers -- 11 from the CPI-M, four from CPI, and one each from the Congress-S, Janata Dal-S and the Nationalist Congress Party.
Departing from tradition, this is the second time that the swearing in was held outside the Raj Bhavan complex - the official residence of the Kerala governor.
In 2006, V.S. Achuthanandan had opted for his swearing-in at the Central Stadium, which was done to ensure that people of the state could come and witness the event.
The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)-led Left Democratic Front swept the May 16 assembly polls, winning 91 seats in the 140-member Kerala assembly, showing the door to Oommen Chandy's Congress-led government that was in power since 2011.
Among those who attended the swearing were former prime minister H.D. Deva Gowda, CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury and his predecessor Prakash Karat, as also Achuthanandan, Chandy, superstar Mammootty and several others.
Also seen were top religious leaders, leading cultural personalities and numerous others from various walks of life. An estimated 30,000 people witnessed the ceremony, while hundreds who could not find a place inside the ground had to watch the proceedings on LED screens outside.
The state party headquarters of the CPI-M capital city was crowded and party supporters looked excited and happy.
"I am a neighbour of Vijayan, from Pinarayi, and there is huge excitement in our village; quite a good number of us have come from there to see our leader take over the state administration," said a middle-aged man.
Ace film maker Renjith, who, ahead of the polls had suggested that there is a need for a change in governance, told the media at the swearing-in venue that the change has happened now.
"There is a lot of expectation from the new government headed by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and we all wish that delivery is there," said Renjith.
Another popular film maker and actor, Renji Panicker, opined that the new government would certainly put Kerala "on the right track of development", which he said did not take place in the right perspective during the previous government.
The ministers sworn in from the CPI-M include Thomas Issac, A.K. Balan, G. Sudhakaran (all three were in the Achuthanandan government) E.P. Jayarajan, K.K. Shailaja, Kadakampally Surendran, A.C. Moideen, T.P. Ramakrishnan, J. Mercykutty Amma, C. Raveendranath and K.T. Jaleel.
All the four Communist Party of India ministers - E. Chandrasekheran, V.S. Sunil Kumar, P. Thilothaman and K. Raju - are new faces.
The others sworn in were Mathew T. Thomas (JD-S), Kadanapally Ramachandran (Congress-S) and A.K. Saseendran (NCP).