Ramesh Chennithala gets Home, vigilance and jail portfolios

Thiruvanchoor given Forests, Cinema and Sports, Transport and Pollution Control Board.

Thiruvananthapuram: KPCC chief Ramesh Chennithala joined the Oommen Chandy government on Wednesday after months of speculations and denials, making it a festive occasion for the ‘I’ camp.

Governor Nikhil Kumar administered the oath of office and secrecy to Chennithala at a specially constructed pandal at Raj Bhavan.

Chennithala, 57, has been given the crucial home, vigilance and jail portfolios.

Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan has been allocated Forests, Cinema and Sports, Transport and Pollution Control Board which were earlier vested with K. B. Ganesh Kumar, Aryadan Mohammed and C. N. Balakrishnan.

Chennithala's entry into the cabinet is expected to put a stop to group rivalries and help the party to unitedly face the Lok Sabha elections.

KC (B) chairman R. Balakrishna Pillai and Opposition Leader V. S. Achuthanandan were conspicuous by their absence at the swearing-in ceremony.

While Pillai lamented that none had informed him about the swearing-in, the new Home Minister told reporters that he had personally invited him.

"What the UDF should expect now is not spring, but something worse like 'Kozhi Vasantha' (poultry disease)," said Pillai at Perunna in Changanassery after Chennithala claimed earlier that the days ahead for the UDF will be the spring season.

Achuthanandan's office told DC that he did not attend the function as Chennithala has been brought into the cabinet to settle group issues.

VS felt that his induction has no relevance to the people or the state.

Since the last 18 months, there has been a clamour for Chennithala's inclusion in the cabinet to bolster the presence of the majority community in the ministry in general and Nair community in particular.

NSS general secretary G. Sukumaran Nair had demanded a key post for Chennithala in the government.

The AICC decided to rope in Chennithala so as to prepare for the Lok Sabha elections.

Defence Minister A. K. Antony came to Kerala early this week with the high command mandate for Chennithala's ministership.

Chennithala has become a minister after a gap of nearly 27 years. He was the rural development minister in the K. Karunakaran ministry.

He will also hold the additional responsibility as KPCC chief till the organisational and ministerial shuffle takes place.

Next: Big cheer for Chennithala

Big cheer for Chennithala


Newly-inducted Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala had a hectic day on Wednesday.

He along with his wife T. N. Anitha visited his favourite idol Sree Padmanabha in the morning itself after which he met his mother, Devaki Amma, who stays with his sister Uma at Palkulangara in the capital, and sought her blessings.

Mother D. Devaki Amma blesses minister-designate Ramesh Chennithala before his swearing-in ceremony on Wednesday. —DC

After having breakfast with his family, Chennithala had a visitor- DGP K. S. Balasubramanian—who held closed-door talks with him for 20 minutes.

Later, he went to the KPCC office and was welcomed by several Congress leaders.

However, ‘A’ group leaders were conspicuous by their absence except Wayanad MP M. I. Shahnavas.

He was accompanied by KPCC spokesperson Pandalam Sudhakaran to Raj Bhavan for the swearing-in ceremony.

Incidentally, it was Pandalam and the current Speaker G. Karthikeyan who had accompanied Chennithala to Raj Bhavan 27 years back for his swearing-in then.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Finance Minister P. Chidamabaram, Civil Aviation Minister Ajith Singh and Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh had called Chennithala in advance.

Scores of supporters from Harippad constituency and Alappuzha district made a beeline to Raj Bhavan.

Amidst sloganeering from party workers, Chennithala went direct to the secretariat to attend the cabinet meeting.

After having lunch from home, he rushed to a couple of television channels and then attended a public programme organised by Thiruvananthapuram DCC.

Next: Supporters swarm new minister’s office

Supporters swarm new minister’s office

Thiruvananthapuram: Reaching his office in the secretariat proved to be a difficult task for Ramesh Chennithala on Wednesday due to the heavy rush of party workers and well-wishers in the chamber.

Chennithala was allotted an office on the second floor of the secretariat north block, just a floor below the Chief Minister’s office.

Home minister Ramesh Chennithala assumes charge at his office at north block in the secretariat on Wednesday. Alappuzha DCC president A.A. Shukkoor, revenue minister Adoor Prakash, Hibi Eden MLA, Minister V.S. Sivakumar, Joseph Vazhakkan MLA looks on. —DC

The office earlier occupied by K.B. Ganesh Kumar has been lying vacant ever since he quit the cabinet.

After attending the cabinet meeting, Chennithala reached the office chamber by 1.35 p.m. Incidentally, the ‘rahukaalam’ (inauspicious time of a day as per astrology) on Wednesday was from 12 noon to 1.30 p.m. By that time the office chamber was jampacked with party workers and supporters.

Accompanied by Revenue Minister Adoor Prakash, Health Minister V. S Sivakumar and Hibi Eden MLA, Chennithala had to wait at the entrance of the cabin for some time to let party workers arrange some way in.

But none was willing to leave to room and finally Chennithala had to drag himself through the crowd to reach the chair.

Before taking his seat, Chennithala offered ‘laddus’ (sweets) to Prakash and Sivakumar and distributed them to the others in the room. Party workers applauded as he occupied the minister’s chair.

Next: Emphasis on safety of women

Emphasis on safety of women

Thiruvananthapuram: Ramesh Chennithala, who assumed office as Home Minister on Wednesday, said that his priority was to curb the crimes against women and children.

“I will work for the larger interests of the people. Safety of women and children will be given special emphasis, apart from the overall safety of the general public,” said Chennithala.

“Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan did a good job as Home Minister. Divesting him of the Home portfolio did not mean that there were any lapses in handling the portfolio,” he said.

He maintained that he entered the Oommen Chandy-led cabinet as per the direction of the party high command.

“It is true that I had earlier said that I would not be part of this cabinet. However, with the high command now directing me to join the cabinet, there was no second thoughts for a disciplined party worker. I will take up any responsibility assigned by the high command,” he said.

He also expressed the hope that his presence in the cabinet would help strengthen the government and the party further. The Congress party will be able to repeat its victory in the coming Lok Sabha elections, he said.

Next: ‘A’ group shocked, then re-groups

‘A’ group shocked, then re-groups

Thiruvananthapuram: With Ramesh Chennithala becoming the Home Minister, all is not well within the 'A' faction.

Though Chief Minister Oommen Chandy was keen to give the Revenue portfolio to Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, Chennithala's camp did not relent which forced Chandy to take Transport from Aryadan Mohammed and give it to Thiruvanchoor as a face-saver.

When news came of Chennithala becoming a minister on Monday, it sent shock waves across the ‘A’ camp.

However, they did not show their disappointment openly, but a few of the leaders in the official ‘A’ camp had the feeling that Chennithala should have been inducted into the cabinet earlier itself.

“Now the situation is that Chandy has annoyed Thiruvanchoor himself.

It is true that Thiruvanchoor had become unpopular among the Congress supporters and he could have avoided the situation when the fifth minister row had occurred.

Thiruvanchoor could have remained as Revenue Minister,” said a senior Congress leader.

Though Aryadan was not happy to part with the ministry, he did not object as it was being given to his colleague in the ‘A’ faction.

( Source : dc )
Next Story