Valsaraj, Chandrakasu will be back in Pondy Ministry

PONDICHERRY, NOV. 1. The Pondicherry Chief Minister, Mr. N.Rangasamy, today called on the Lt. Governor, Dr Rajani Rai, and presented to her a list of names for being included in the first phase of Cabinet expansion. (Mr. Rangasamy alone assumed office on October 27, a week after he was elected the Congress Legislative Party leader here).

Party sources told the The Hindu that the names of Mr. E.Valsaraj, Mr. M.Chandrakasu (now Deputy Speaker) and Mr. K.Lakshminarayanan (all belonging to the Congress) have been recommended for the posts of Minister. The Lt. Governor would forward the list to the Centre for approval and most probably the three will be sworn in on November 5.

Mr. Valsaraj, elected from Mahe consecutively for the fourth time, served as Health Minister in the Cabinet Mr. P.Shanmugham headed from March last year till April this year. He remained president of the State Youth Congress until a new arrangement was made by the high command with the appointment of Mr. Pandian.

Mr. Chandrakasu, a confidant of Mr. Shanmugham, served as Deputy Speaker, Speaker and Social Welfare Minister. He represents Neduncadu, a reserved constituency in Karaikal.

Mr. Lakshminarayanan has been elected for the first time to the Assembly, from Cassicadai. For the first time after 18 years, Cassicadai will have a Minister in the Union Territory government.

With yesterday's merger of the PMC with the Congress, the latter`s strength has risen from 11 to 15 in the 30-member Assembly. Two independents, Mr. Malladi Krishna Rao and Mr. T.Jayamoorthy, have pledged support to the Congress heading the Government.

Usually the strength of the Pondicherry Ministry would be six including the Chief Minister. Two posts remain to be filled up. There is no immediate sign of the AIADMK and the TMC responding to the Congress offer that they share power.

Meanwhile, the three-member AIADMK team has given a letter to Dr. Rajani Rai extending its support to the Congress Government.

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