Kerala cabinet set for expansion


Thiruvananthapuram: Former minister P.J. Joseph, who had resigned nearly three years ago after being accused of molesting a woman, will return to the Kerala cabinet Aug 17, the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) said Saturday, also indicating two more ministers were likely to be inducted.

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“Now that Joseph has been given a clean chit by a court, it has been decided to accommodate him because his party (Kerala Congress-J) nominee Mons Joseph has already expressed his desire to step down,” LDF convenor Vaikom Viswan told reporters after a Front meeting.

He added the meeting also decided to accommodate a faction of the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) that stayed with the LDF after the split in the party as two legislators did not back party chairman M.P. Veerendra Kumar.

Kumar and the remaining three legislators are now on the verge of supporting the state’s main opposition, the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF).

“The decision on giving a cabinet berth to the JD-S and also to a similar demand of Congress-S was not taken today. For that, we are meeting again on Aug 14,” said Viswan.

Jose Thettayil of JD-S and veteran leader Kadanapally Ramachandran of Congress-S are the likely candidates for the two cabinet berths.

Meanwhile, Joseph told reporters he was happy at the prospect of becoming a minister again.

“Now that I am cleared (of the charge), I am coming back,” he said.