The district had always been the hub of UDF politics in the State, but seldom has it got so much representation in the Cabinet.

With at least four representatives who have roots in Kottayam assured of Cabinet berth, the district may see lot of media activity in the coming days.

In addition to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Finance Minister K.M. Mani, senior Congress leaders Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan and K.C. Joseph will take oath on Monday. Mr Joseph represents Irukkur in Kannur district, but he not only has his roots in Kottayam, but also was a major presence in the UDF politics in the district as the district president of the party till he stood for elections this March.

Incidentally, both are strong Chandy loyalists. The two leaders share another commonality. Mr Radhakirshnan's wife Lalithambika and Mr Joseph's wife Sara are colleagues at the T.B. Road branch of Punjab National Bank here.

Though Mr. Radhakrishnan had an early start in politics as the district president of the Kerala Students' Union in 1967 and a rapid promotion in the organisation and later in the Congress (I) in which he had a long stint as its general secretary from 1984, he could enter the election arena only in 1991, that too from Adoor. However, with Adoor turning a reserved constituency this time, Mr Radhakrishnan returned to his home turf. This is his second term as Minister.

Mr Joseph belongs to Changanassery, but has his residence in Kottayam town. This is the seventh term for Mr Joseph from Irikkur, but the first Cabinet birth. Known as Mr Chandy's right hand man, Mr. Joseph has been credited with taking a tough stand while putting the faction-ridden Congress unit in the district in order during his term as DCC president. He is also known for his hard bargaining prowess in dealing with coalition partners.

The hardworking politician has the distinction of looking after a constituency up north in Kannur while being a full time party chief in Kottayam.

When Mr Mani presents his alternate memorandum in the coming Assembly session, this will be the record ninth time that he would be presenting the budgetary provisions for the State.

Mr Chandy is the second Chief Minister from Kottayam, the first being A.J. John (1893-1957) who served as the Chief Minister of the Travancore-Cochin state from 1952 to 54. Born at Thalayolaparambu near Vaikom, he was elected to the Travancore-Cochin Assembly from Poonjar.

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