Sunday’s elaborate re-shuffle has landed the State the highest-ever representation of eight in the Union Council of Ministers.

Kodikkunnil Suresh is the new face from the State, while Shashi Tharoor has made a comeback after being forced out in the wake of the IPL controversy.

Portfolios allocated

Suresh will be the new Minister of State for Labour, while Tharoor has been given the same rank in the Ministry of Human Resources.

Suresh represents the Mavelikkara Lok Sabha reserved constituency, while Tharoor is the Member of Parliament from Thiruvananthapuram.

Both took the oath of office at a function held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, which saw 22 Ministers joining the Union Cabinet, of which, 12 were new faces. Those taking oath included seven Ministers with Cabinet rank, 13 Ministers of State, and two others with independent charge.

On Saturday, Suresh had informed mediapersons here from Delhi that he had received an invite from the Prime Minister for the swearing-in.

Cabinet rank

The two new Ministers from the State join the existing contingent of six to make it the biggest ever representation in the Council of Ministers.

Two of them — Defence Minister A.K. Antony and Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi — enjoy Cabinet rank.

Changes in allocation in portfolios also have been announced, according to which Minister of State for Power, K.C. Venugopal, has been shifted to Civil Aviation.

Vayalar Ravi has been relieved of additional portfolios he has been holding and is now left with Overseas Indian Affairs.

Food and Consumer Affairs Minister K.V. Thomas has retained his portfolios.

Suresh’s election to the Lok Sabha in 2009 had been contested in the court and the Kerala High Court had declared the election void over his caste credentials.

But later, a division bench of the Supreme Court comprising present Chief Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice A. K. Patnaik reversed the lower court’s judgment.

Tharoor, a Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, was forced to submit papers on April 18, 2010, following involvement in the controversy over IPL Kochi franchisee.

vinson.kurian@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on October 28, 2012)
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