Surendran Pillai inducted into Kerala cabinet

August 3rd, 2010 - 3:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 3 (IANS) The V.S. Achuthanandan cabinet was expanded Tuesday with the induction of V. Surendran Pillai, the lone Kerala Congress legislator, as ports and youth welfare minister.
Pillai, 54, was sworn in by Governor R.S. Gavai at the Kerala Raj Bhavan. With his induction, the strength of the ministry is 20, including the chief minister.

The ports and youth welfare portfolio was earlier with Communist Party of India-Marxist minister M. Vijayakumar, who now has been given public works department, which was being handled by Finance Minister Thomas Isaac.

The Kerala Congress is led by P.C. Thomas. On two occasions in the past, Pillai had missed the minister’s post by a whisker. He has been third time lucky.

Pillai originally belonged to the Kerala Congress (Joseph), which was an ally of the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF). However, party chairman P.J. Joseph resigned as minister in April over a scandal and along with two other legislators joined the Kerala Congress (Mani) - an ally in the Congress-led United Democratic Front.

The first occasion when Pillai missed a minister’s post was when Joseph had to resign from the cabinet following a scandal of misbehaving with a woman on board an aircraft in 2006. At that time, the vacant cabinet spot went to T.U. Kuruvilla.

A year later, Kuruvilla had to step down following a land scandal. Pillai again came close to bagging a cabinet berth. But the post ultimately went to Mons Joseph.

After getting the good news, Pillai in the morning paid a visit to Achuthanandan and later went to a temple before arriving for the swearing in.

Pillai became a legislator in 1984 when he won a by-election. This is his second innings in the assembly.

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