Had no inkling I was becoming minister: KJ Alphons
12:06, Sep 6, 2017
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Venkaiah Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi pose with new Union Cabinet Ministers Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Dharmendra Pradhan, Piyush Goyal, Nirmala Sitharaman after the reshuffle at Rashtrapati Bhavan, on September 3, 2017 in New Delhi, India.
Calling the berth an "Onam gift" for Kannanthanam, he said that the new minister must become a voice for Keralites and push for the interests of the state.
Bureaucrat-turned-politician K.J. Alphons, who on Monday took office as Tourism Minister, said he had no inkling he was being made a central minister till he got a telephone call from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO). Though there were rumours that Suresh Gopi may be considered during the cabinet reshuffle, the Kannanthanam episode has nearly sealed any such chance for other Malayali MPs in the Rajya Sabha. "I didn't hear anyone say anything in that regard, other than Kannanthanam who must be happy for himself", he said, while speaking to media. The new inductions include four former civil servants with the 1979 batch, Kerala cadre officer being one of them. 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.
He resigned from Indian Administrative Service to contest in 2006 Kerala Assembly elections. "It's a privilege to be a part of the Modi cabinet", Kannanthanam told India Today. The MLA will have to be brought into the Rajya Sabha where two seats are vacant after Venkaiah Naidu was elected as Vice-President and Manohar Parrikar has shifted to Goa.
Kannanthanam earned a reputation for being an earnest civil servant after making Kottayam the first fully literate town in the country as part of the literacy campaign launched by the communist state government in 1989.
Alphons, though not a frontline leader in the KeralaBJP, is popular in Delhi where he came to be known as the "demolition man" for knocking down 14,310 illegal buildings when he worked as a Commissioner in the Delhi Development Authority. In 1994, he was featured in Time magazine's list of 100 Young Global Leaders.
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