Veena George takes oath as Kerala’s health minister; journalist-turned-politician is KK Shailaja’s successor

Read in Hindi: वीना जॉर्ज ने ली केरल की स्वास्थ्य मंत्री पद की शपथ; पत्रकार से नेता बनी केके शैलजा की उत्तराधिकारी

Veena George, a journalist-turned-politician and two-time Aranmula MLA, was sworn in as Kerala’s Health Minister on Thursday.

Veena will replace KK Shailaja, who was praised for effectively tackling the 2018 Nipah virus outbreak and the coronavirus epidemic in Kerala, which the country has been watching since last year. She is one of the 11 women legislators elected to the Kerala Legislative Assembly and became the first woman journalist-turned-politician to get a ministerial berth in the state.

George worked as a journalist and news anchor in various Malayalam news channels such as Kairali TV, Manorama News and Reporter TV for a 16-year career. In 2015, she became the first woman to head a media organization in Kerala when she became the executive editor of Malayalam news channel TV News.

She was one of the five Indian journalists appointed to cover the 2012 US elections. She was also the presenter of the television program Naam Munnotu, which featured a conversation between Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and the audience.

As she made a political move in 2016, Veena tasted victory when she was elected from the Aranmula Assembly, a seat she won in the April 6 assembly elections this year with a margin of over 19,000 votes. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, he contested for LDF from Pathanamthitta, but lost to UDF’s Anto Antony by a margin of 44,243 votes.

The 45-year-old was born on 3 August 1976 in Thiruvananthapuram. She grew up to be an activist of Students Federation of India (SFI), the student arm of CPM. According to PTI, she holds the rank of MSc (Physics) and B.Ed., while her husband Dr. George Joseph worked as the secretary of Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church.