Kerala Congress leader P. J. Joseph, Congress (S) leader Ramachandran Kadannappally and Jose Thettayil (Janata Dal-S Gowda group) were sworn in as Ministers of the Left Democratic Front ministry in Kerala at a solemn function held at the Raj Bhavan here on Monday morning.
Governor R. S. Gavai administered the oath of office and secrecy after the Chief Secretary Neela Gangadharan presented the Ministers-designate. Chief Minister V. S. Achuthanandan, Ministers and other dignitaries attended.
With the induction of the new Ministers, the LDF Ministry will now have 20 Ministers including the Chief Minister.
P. J. Joseph
Mr. Joseph, who is the chairman of his party, began his career as member of Assembly from Thodupuzha in 1970. He has been the Minister for Home Affairs (1978), Minister for Education and Revenue (1981), Minister Revenue and Housing (1982-87) and Minister for Education and Public Works (1996-2001) in Kerala.
He became the Home Minister when his party (Kerala Congress) leader K. M. Mani had to quit the Cabinet in connection with an election petition. Mr. Joseph stepped down when the case against Mr. Mani was dismissed. However, soon the two leaders parted ways, leading to a split in the party.
Mr. Joseph, who represents Thodupuzha constituency, had been elected to the Assembly six times before. Though he joined the Achuthanandan Ministry in 2006, he had to step down within months following registration of a case against him alleging misbehaviour with a woman passenger in an aircraft. He is returning to the ministry after a Chennai court acquitted him of the charges.
A farmer with a Masters degree in economics, Mr. Joseph is a proponent of organic farming and founder and chairman of Gandhiji Study Centre, a non-governmental organisation promoting agriculture activities.
Mr. Kadannappally, who entered politics as a student leader, is a man committed to Gandhian thoughts. He was one the young turks in Congress politics in the sixties who parted ways with Indira Gandhi after the emergency. While his colleagues such as A. K. Antony and Vayalar Ravi returned to the parent organisation, Mr. Kadannappally remained with the Left Democratic Front.
He had been elected to the Parliament in 1971 and 1977 and to the Assembly in 1980 and 2006. He held several positions in the student and youth wings of the Congress before leaving the party. He became the general secretary of the KPCC (S) in 1989, and is currently the president of the Congress (S). He represents Edakkad in the Assembly.
Mr. Jose Thettayil, who entered politics through the Kerala Students Union, is an advocate by profession. He was ousted from the Congress during the emergency.
Subsequently, he became the State executive member and national council member of the Janata Party (1980) and later of the Janata Dal. He is the office bearer of several trade unions and member of the Director Board of State Film Development Corporation.
He represents the Ankamali constituency in the Assembly and had been the chairman of Ankamali municipality.
He is also the author of the book 'Cinemayum Rashtriyavum' and director of a documentary “All for God's Sake” and a film critic.
Mr. Thettayil becomes a Minister in place of Mathew T. Thomas who had quit the Ministry before the Lok Sabha elections. Mr. Thomas had been asked to step down by his party in protest against the denial of seat to it for contest in the recent Lok Sabha polls by the CPI (M). The Janata Dal subsequently split, and Mr. Mathew Thomas and Jose Thettayil remained with the LDF.