Winners against Ponmudy, Nehru and several Ministers find place in Cabinet

In a Cabinet dominated by new faces, ministerial berths handed out by Chief Minister-designate Jayalalithaa appear to be rewards for time-tested loyalty and stellar performance in the electoral arena.

Krishnagiri MLA K.P. Munusamy figures fifth in the list of ministers to be sworn in on Monday, but this is hardly surprising as he is seen as a die-hard loyalist of Ms. Jayalalithaa since 1989.

A two-term legislator and one-time MP, Mr. Munusamy gets a Cabinet post for the first time with the portfolio of Municipal Administration and Rural Development.

K. T. Pachamal, an AIADMK member since its inception, defeated Suresh Rajan, Tourism Minister in the outgoing Cabinet, at Kanniyakumari, earning a ministerial post this time. C. Karuppasamy is a four-time MLA and had served as Adi-Dravida Welfare minister in Jayalalithaa ministry in 2001-06. Hailing from a rural and agrarian background, he has been put in charge of Animal Husbandry.

Industries, a portfolio critical for the development of the western region, an industrial hub, goes to C. Shanmugavelu, who defeated former Highways minister M.P. Saminathan at Madathukulam.

Ms. Jayalalithaa has retained the DMK's policy of dividing the Education portfolio among two ministers. C.Ve. Shanmugam, who inflicted defeat on DMK's northern strongman K Ponmudy at Villupuram, gets to lead the School Education department. Dr. V.S. Vijay gets the Health ministry after he ended the winning spree of C. Gnanasekaran (Congress) at Vellore.

In Tiruchi West constituency, 61-year old N. Mariyam Pichai, who has been nominated as Minister for Environment, defeated outgoing Transport Minister and DMK heavyweight K. N. Nehru by a margin of 7,179 votes. He had also served as Corporation Councillor twice.V. Senthil Balaji, nominated as Transport Minister, has been elected from Karur constituency for the second consecutive time.

He defeated S. Jothimani, national general secretary of the Youth Congress and a close associate of AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi, by a whopping margin of 44,145 votes.

Including R. Vaithilingam, set to be Housing and Urban Development Minister after being elected from the Orathanadu constituency in Thanjavur district for the third consecutive time, there are seven MLAs from the Central region. S.T. Chellapandian from Tuticorin earned a berth for himself after defeating Geetha Jeevan, Social Welfare minister.

With just nine of the Cabinet members having prior ministerial experience, there are several new faces. A debutant as legislator, E. Subaya from Ambasamudram, is a law graduate who bested Speaker R. Avudaiyappan. Another first-time MLA Sellur K. Raju, the party's Madurai urban district secretary, has been rewarded with a Cabinet post after triumphing over DMK urban secretary G. Thalapathi, a loyalist of DMK's southern face M.K.Alagiri in the Madurai West constituency. Fisheries Minister-designate K. A. Jayapal is a first time MLA from the Nagapattinam constituency, while R. B. Udhayakumar from Sattur, the party's State students' wing secretary, and B.V.Ramanaa from Tiruvallur are also newcomers.