Kuttanad MLA Thomas Chandy took oath as the new Transport Minister of the CPI (M)-led Kerala government on Saturday.
The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MLA was given the ministerial berth following the resignation of AK Saseendran last Sunday. Saseendran had stepped down after Mangalam TV aired a sexually explicit audio clipping which allegedly had his voice.
Thomas Chandy took oath in a ceremony held in the Raj Bhavan grounds in Thiruvananthapuram. Kerala Governor P Sathasivam and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan presided over the ceremony which began with the playing of the national anthem.
Various ministers of the Pinarayi cabinet including Finance Minister Thomas Isaac, Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran and former minister AK Saseendran took part in the ceremony.
Thomas Chandy is the only NCP minister in the government after Saseendran stepped down.
The newly appointed minister will proceed to the Secretariat later in the evening, where he will officially assume office. Thomas Chandy has also called for a press meet later in the day.
Although his name was among the list of probable ministers in May last year, when the Pinarayi cabinet was being formed, it took nearly ten months for Thomas Chandy to get the post.
As the new Transport Minister, Thomas Chandy has promised to improve the financial standing of KSRTC. He is said to be the first minister from Kuttanad but the fourth from Alappuzha district in the current ministry.
Meanwhile, leaders of the Opposition stayed away from the oath taking ceremony due to an ongoing Congress meeting in Malappuram.