Venugopal, the brand new Minister
Making a ministerial debut at the Centre , the 47-year-old MP from Alapuzha has got "power" quickly getting the Minister of State slot in the Power ministry.
Beni Prasad Verma and Ashwani Kumar, the new ministers in UPA after today`s minior expansion and reshuffle who were sworn in along with Venugopal, have been Union ministers earlier.
An avid sports fan and a university-level volleyball player, Venugopal comes in following the exit of Shashi Tharoor from the ministry following the IPL controversy.
The induction of Venugopal, a post graduate in Mathematics, is seen as a move to woo the influential Nair community ahead of the Assembly elections in Kerala due in May. The Nair community, to which Venugopal belongs, has been demanding his induction in the Ministry.
Interestingly, Venugopal who hails from Kannur district in northern Kerala has won the Lok Sabha elections from a district in southern part of the state.
With Venugopal becoming a minister, Alapuzha district now has three ministers in the Centre, the other two being Defence Minister A K Antony and Overseas Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi.
He is a three-time MLA and former minister, who resigned from the post of MLA to contest the Lok Sabha elections in 2009 and won the elections with a huge margin. He was a minister looking after temple affairs and tourism in the state for two years.
Initiated into politics in his student days, he rose to become the president of the Kerala unit of the NSUI and later the chief of Youth Congress.
The hurly-burly of politics did not take away Venugopal`s love for sports and even during his stint in student politics, he was selected in the University team.