Few other districts in the State can perhaps boast of such high profile ‘sons of the soil’. With K.C. Venugopal, MP, swearing as Minister of State for Energy on Wednesday, the tally of Ministers from Alappuzha is six now, three, including Defence Minister A.K. Antony in the Centre and three, including Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan, in the State Cabinet.
Right from when the State Assembly came into being, Alappuzha has always had a ministerial berth and with Mr. Antony, the district opened its account in the Union Cabinet as well, expanding it later with Vayalar Ravi and now, Mr. Venugopal, or KC, as he is popular among the people here.
Veteran K.R. Gouri, who was in the first Communist ministry led by E.M.S. Namboodiripad in 1957, was a permanent fixture in LDF Cabinets and later, in UDF Ministries as well before she lost the 2006 Assembly polls. Through her husband, the late CPI stalwart T.V. Thomas, through Congress strongman Thachadi Prabhakaran and later through Mr. Antony, the district somehow found itself boasting of a Minister every time a new Government assumed power.
Interestingly, when Mr. Antony, who hails from Cherthala was the Chief Minister, the Leader of Opposition too was from Alappuzha in the form of Mr. Achuthanandan. Now, as the latter is the Chief Minister, he has company from his native place in the form of Coir and Cooperation Minister G. Sudhakaran and Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac.
Mr. Isaac, like Mr. Venugopal, is one who has been wholeheartedly welcomed by the district though he is not exactly a ‘son of the soil’. He hails from Kodungalloor originally, while Mr. Venugopal is a native of Kannur. While Mr. Isaac made Mararikulam his second home, KC made his debut in the State Assembly from Alappuzha in 1996. In 2001 and 2006 too, Alappuzha favoured him. It was only a matter of pride that he became Minister for Tourism and Devaswom in the Oommen Chandy Ministry.
In 2009, Mr. Venugopal resigned as MLA and successfully contested the Parliament elections, winning by a handsome margin of over 56,000 votes.
Amidst the deluge of Ministers, however, the question remains whether Alappuzha has made any headway as far as real development, and not that on paper, is considered.