Rahul nominee among Cong ministers in Kerala

Thiruvananthapuram: The lone Congress woman MLA P K Vijayalakshmi, who contested Kerala Assembly polls as a nominee of Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi, is among the representatives of the party to be inducted in the Oommen Chandy Cabinet, which is slated for expansion on Monday.

The nine-member list includes former ministers Aryadan Muhammad, Thiruvanchur Radhakrishnan, Adoor Prakash and A P Anil Kumar, Chandy told reporters here on Saturday.

Others who are chosen to be made ministers are K C Joseph, K Babu, C N Balakrishnan and V S Sivakumar.

Some prominent faces missing in the list are KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala, former KPCC president K Muraleedharan and Deputy Leader of Congress in the previous Assembly G Karthikeyan.

Chennithala, who won from Harippad seat, has not shown interest to join the ministry despite pressure from the leadership.

Jayalakshmi was elected from Manathawadi (ST) seat in Wayanad district defeating CPI-M`s K C Kunhiraman by over 12,000 votes.

Belonging to the Kurichya tribe, she is the first ST minister in Kerala and the youngest in the Cabinet.

A graduate in English literature and a university archery champion, Jayalakshmi was reportedly given the ticket to contest the polls as suggested by Rahul Gandhi, who recommended some 18 nominees in the list of candidates, half of who won the polls.

The list of ministers was drawn up after long discussions here and in New Delhi, keeping regional, caste and religious balance.

The selection had left some heartburns and protests. For instance, N Sakthan, elected from Kattakkada near here, voiced protest over exclusion of Nadar community in the list.

Chandy said the UDF was keen to give representation to all communities and sections in the ministry, the coalition had "certain limitations in satisfying everybody" within the possible number of berths.