9 new ministers join Modi govt; 4 elevated as Cabinet Mins

Former Kerala IAS officer Alphons Kannanthanam, has been appointed as minister of state in the ministry of electronics and IT.

Not surprisingly, the state head office of the Bharatiya Janata Party here looked deserted on Sunday when Alphons took oath even though Kerala was getting its first representation in the three-year-old Modi government.

It was a major jig of Team Modi as four junior ministers were elevated to the Cabinet rank and nine fresh faces were inducted as Ministers of State.

Worth mentioning here is the fact that this might be the last cabinet reshuffle before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Kannanthanam and Puri are now not members of Parliament and are likely to be elected to the Rajya Sabha within the stipulated six months.The promotion of Naqvi, Pradhan, Sitharaman and Goyal, who were all Ministers of State with independent charge, is an endorsement of their good performance, official sources said.

One reason why Modi and BJP president Amit Shah may have opted for Alphons is to warn the warring BJP leadership in the state that they needed to get their act together to take on the entrenched Left and the Congress. Was elected to the Kerala assembly the same year as a CPI (M)-backed independent candidate from Kanjirappally. Known for his strong anti-corruption stance, in 2011 he joined the saffron party and went on to become the member of the national executive. The MLA will have to be brought into the Rajya Sabha where two seats are vacant after Venkaiah Naidu was elected as Vice-President and Manohar Parrikar has shifted to Goa.

It was a tenure that earned him a place in Time magazine's coveted 100 young global leaders list in 1994. Born in Manimala village in Kerala's Kottayam district, he pioneered the literacy movement in India and as District Collector of Kottayam, he made it the first 100 percent literate town in India in 1989. He shot into fame when he was the commissioner of the Delhi Development Authority during 1990s and his anti-encroachment drive against thousands of illegal constructions gave him the name "demolition man".

  • Rogelio Becker