In a major reshuffle of the Pinarayi Vijayan cabinet in Kerala, CPI (M) MLA MM Mani was alloted a cabinet berth.
The Udumbanchola MLA and CPI (M) state secretariat member was reportedly allotted the portfolio of Electricity. MM Mani's name had figured in the list of probable ministers, soon after Left Democratic Front (LDF) won the assembly election with a huge margin.
The reshuffle comes nearly a month after the controversial exit of Industries and Sports Minister EP Jayarajan, following grave allegations of nepotism.
The CPI (M) state committee has also decided that Tourism and Co-operative minister AC Moideen will take up Industries and Sports portfolio, that was being handled by Chief Minister Pinaraayi Vijayan following EP Jayarajan's resignation.
With MM Mani being included in the cabinet, Kadakampally Surendran-who is the current minister for Power and Devaswom- will head Tourism and Co-operative portfolio.
MM Mani is a leader who is not alien to controversies. During the assembly elections this year, Congress had accused him of bringing in voters from Tamil Nadu for bogus voting.
Mani had, during the run up to the election, patched up with CPI (M) veteran VS Achuthanandan, when the latter visited Udumbanchola constituency in Idukki to campaign for Mani.
The two were not in good terms ever since VS' Munnar operation against land grabs in 2007 when he was the CM. MM Mani had even threatened to chop off VS Achutanandan's hands if he went ahead with the operation.
He had recently criticized Agriculture Minister VS Sunil Kumar and Revenue Minister E Chandrasekharan for ignoring the farmer crisis in Idukki. CPI mouthpiece 'Janayugam' had then come down heavily on the MLA in its editorial, accusing Mani of siding with the land mafia.
Mani has also faced criticisms and a police case over his controversial speech in February this year, against a woman Principal of a polytechnic college. In another instance in 2012, he said in a speech that the party had killed political opponents in the past.