Thiruvananthapuram: In a minor cabinet
expansion, V Surendran Pillai of Kerala Congress (Thomas)
faction was today sworn in as a minister and given the
portfolios of Ports and Youth Affairs.
The induction of 54-year-old Pillai in the cabinet,
when hardly a year is left for the Assembly polls, also
resulted in a minor reallocation of portfolios with Sports
Minister M Vijayakumar (CPI-M) getting additional charge of
Governor R S Gavai administered oath of office and
secrecy to Pillai at a simple function, which was attended by
Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan, his cabinet colleagues and
senior officials, at the Raj Bhavan.
Pillai is the lone MLA of Kerala Congress faction led
by former Union Minister P C Thomas, which emerged out of the
split in Kerala Congress (J) led by P J Joseph two months ago.
Joseph, who held the Public Works portfolio in the LDF
ministry, had quit the coalition before merging his party with
the Kerala Congress (Mani) faction, a constituent of the
After Joseph quit the ministry, Finance Minister T M
Thomas Issac had been holding additional charge of Public
Pillai, who represents Thiruvananthapuram West in the
state Assembly, had an earlier stint in the House in 1984. He
had served as Vice-Chairman and General Secretary of Kerala
Congress and led its trade union wing.