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V Ravi new head of overseas affairs

The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs has named a new cabinet minister, Vayalar Ravi, on Sunday.

india Updated: Jan 30, 2006 11:25 IST
Indo-Asian News Service
Indo-Asian News Service

The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs has a new head in Vayalar Ravi, a veteran Congress party leader from Kerala and a Rajya Sabha member, who was Sunday given charge of the portfolio as a cabinet minister.

He replaced Oscar Fernandes, who was hurriedly inducted last year to oversee preparations for India's annual event to connect with its 25 million diaspora in 110 countries - the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas - that concluded in Hyderabad Jan 9.

Jagdish Tytler, the first minister of the newly created ministry, had to resign abruptly earlier last year after he was linked to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in the national capital.

Ravi's induction was also aimed at giving representation to Kerala, from where the Congress has no Lok Sabha member. The state will go to the polls in the next few months to choose a new assembly.

Kerala also has a large diaspora outside India, particularly in the Gulf.

Ravi, 68, started his political career as founder president of the party's students' wing in the Kerala Students Union in the early 1960s.He went on to become one of the youngest members of the Congress party's powerful working committee in the 1970s.

He put up a brave face after the oath-taking ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, and accepted the congratulations and commiserations offered to him on the sudden death of his six-year-old grandson Saturday.

First Published: Jan 30, 2006 11:17 IST