Journalist-turned-politician and two-time Aranmula legislator Veena George took oath as Kerala’s health minister on Thursday.
Veena will fill in the shoes of KK Shailaja, who had been lauded for the efficient handling of the 2018 Nipah virus outbreak and the coronavirus pandemic in Kerala that the country has been witnessing since last year. She is among the 11 women MLAs elected to the Kerala Assembly and is also the first woman journalist-turned-politician to get the ministerial berth in the state.
George worked as a journalist and news anchor in various Malayalam news channels like Kairali TV, Manorama News and Reporter TV for a career spanning 16 years. In 2015, she became the first woman to head a media organisation in Kerala when she became the executive editor of Malayalam news channel TV News.
She was one of the five Indian journalists who was assigned to cover the 2012 US elections. She was also the presenter of the television programme Naam Munnottu, which featured an interaction between Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and an audience.
As soon as she took the political plunge in 2016, Veena tasted victory when she was elected from Aranmula Assembly, a seat she also won in the 6 April Assembly polls this year with a margin of over 19,000 votes. In the Lok Sabha election of 2019, she contested from Pathanamthitta for the LDF, but lost to UDF’s Anto Antony by a margin of 44,243 votes.
The 45-year-old was born in Thiruvananthapuram on 3 August, 1976. She grew up to become an activist of Students Federation of India (SFI), the student wing of the CPM. She is a rank holder of MSc (Physics) and BEd, according to PTI, while her husband Dr George Joseph has served as a secretary of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church.