On a day Alphons Kannanthanam was inducted into the reshuffled Union cabinet, wishes poured in from his home state of Kerala.
The 64-year-old is a former IAS officer and was sworn in as the state minister for Tourism, Electronics and Information Technology.
Wishing Alphons good luck for his new role, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan referred to him as his "long-time friend."
Taking to Facebook, the Kerala CM said:
"This is like an Onam gift for him and I hope he will work towards the betterment of the state of Kerala. I wish him good luck to also be the voice of Kerala in the cabinet."
"Parallel efforts from both Centre & state will certainly ensure successful development of Kerala. Hope Shri Alphons Kannanthanam will work for the same," the CM added.
The bureaucrat-turned-politician had in 2011, shifted his loyalties to the BJP, after first entering the Kerala Assembly with the support of the LDF in 2006.
‚ÄúThe ministerial berth for Alphons Kannanthanam is an Onam gift for Malayalis from the Modi Government," said BJP State President Kummanam Rajasekharan.
Pointing out that the newly inducted minister will be able to address people‚Äôs issues representing Kerala at the Centre, Kummanam said:
"The presence of Alphons Kannanthanam will add glitter to the anti-corruption image of the Modi government. Kannanthanam joined BJP, after being fed up with the corrupt rule of the two political fronts of the state. The ministerial berth is a gift for his political stands. It is sure that he would give wings to the developmental dreams of the state,‚ÄĚ Kummanam said.
On the lines of BJP State Presidents' words, BJP's K Surendran too, said that inducting a Keralite to the cabinet was Narendra Modi's Onam gift to people of Kerala.
Congratulating him, Surendran said: "Alphons Kannanthanam has been the nightmare of everyone who is corrupt."
Congratulating Alphons, senior Congress leader and Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennitha took a dig at the state BJP.
"We are happy that Kannanthanam was chosen for the ministerial berth. But I don't think the BJP in Kerala is quite happy with the move. Although I am happy that a friend has become a minister, this cannot help BJP save its face," Chennithala said.