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God's own country gets minister by lottery

Mons Joseph, Kerala Congress (Joseph) an MLA, became PWD minister through a draw of lots beating rival MLA Surendran Pillai, reports Ramesh Babu.

india Updated: Oct 16, 2007 02:15 IST
Ramesh Babu
Ramesh Babu
Hindustan Times

Becoming a minister doesn't get easier than this. Mons Joseph, Kerala Congress (Joseph) an MLA, became PWD minister through a draw of lots.

Rival MLA Surendran Pillai, who lost in the draw, on Monday admitted that a "lottery" had indeed taken place to break the deadlock between the two.

Both MLAs of the Kerala Congress (J) staked a claim for the PWD minister's post, vacant since the resignation of TU Kuruvilla.

"Senior leader Eapen Verghese suggested the idea of a 'lottery' since everyone agreed that both the MLAs were equally qualified. Initially, I opposed the move but agreed later," Pillai said.

The Opposition UDF has dubbed it an "undemocratic exercise". Hurtling from one controversy to another, the latest revelations of its MLA has landed the junior partner of the ruling LDF in a soup.

Party chairman PJ Joseph was forced to give up his office last year after a woman air passenger accused him of outraging her modesty mid-air. His successor TU Kuruvilla had to quit following a land scam involving his children.

Now the minister designate is in trouble even before his swearing in on December 18.

The MLA's statement stirred a hornet's nest with a section of leaders coming out against it strongly. Political pundits even say the beleaguered regional party, which has already split into five, is once again on the verge of another split.

However, the party chairman has dismissed all charges. "It is only an internal affair of the party. Some people are raking up non-issues to get political mileage," Joseph said in Kottayam.

First Published: Oct 16, 2007 02:10 IST