Former IAS officer and BJP leader from Kerala Alphons Kannanthanam may be appointed by the Centre as the administrator of Chandigarh. Reports suggest that in a departure from the past, Kannanthanam could serve only as the head of Chandigarh, not as the Governor of Punjab also as has been the normal routine. In a notification on August 17, President Pranab Mukherjee appointed VP Singh Badnore as the new Punjab Governor in place of Kaptan Singh Solanki although a new administrator for Chandigarh is yet to be named. An official release in this regard is awaited.
Kannanthanam was the district collector of Kottayam in the late 1980s and was instrumental in its progress, including the push towards becoming the first fully literate district in India. Soon after, he made his move to the national capital to take charge as the Commissioner of the Delhi Development Authority. He was in the limelight for authorising the demolition of several illegal buildings, earning him the tag of ‘Demolition Man’.
He contested the 2006 state elections in Kerala from Kanjirapilly in Kottayam district backed by the CPM-led Left Democratic Front (LDF). He won by more than 10,000 votes defeating the nearest Congress candidate. But before his MLA term could complete, he shocked everyone by joining the BJP in the presence of then national party president Nitin Gadkari in New Delhi.
Kannanthanam is a member of the BJP’s national executive committee and has been active in improving the public distribution systems in the states ruled by the party. He also runs a civil service academy in Kochi, Kerala.