Center's Onam gift: Kerala leaders hail friend Kannanthanam's ministerial berth

Alphons becomes the second BJP leader from Kerala to get a berth in the union cabinet after O Rajagopal, who was a Minister of State in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government (1999-2004).

Wishing Alphons good luck for his new role, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan referred to him as his "long-time friend".

In July, amid debate over beef-ban, Goa CM Parrikar said in the Assembly that he would ensure that there was no shortage of beef in Goa and, if required, it would be imported from neighbouring states.

"The joint effort by the Centre and state would make the path for the development easier". Kannanthanam also addressed some of the concerns that were raised by the Christian community about the BJP in the past and said it was mere propaganda.

Alphons added that though he had no great experience of the tourism sector, he would do his best to take it to new heights.

'I could be the bridge between Christian community and Prime Minister's big dream, ' he said. In 2011, he fell out with the Left and joined the BJP.

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"The presence of Alphons Kannanthanam will add glitter to the anti-corruption image of the Modi government".

However, a former BJP state president told DC that Mr Kannanthanam always preferred to be based in New Delhi and has never shown any interest to remain as a regional level politician.

Not surprisingly, the state head office of the Bharatiya Janata Party here looked deserted on Sunday when Alphons took oath even though Kerala was getting its first representation in the three-year-old Modi government.

Alphons asserted that the BJP had no plans to impose a "food emergency" in any of the States including Kerala. The ministership is a gift to his stand. Alphons said that the beef will continue to be consumed in Kerela as there is no country wide ban on it and people of each place will decide what they want to eat. "Kannanthanam was chosen not just for his administrative calibre and analytical skills.

Although I am happy that a friend has become a minister, this can not help BJP save its face", Chennithala said.

  • Adam Floyd