K Krishnankutty, a Janata Dal (Secular) MLA elected from Chittur constituency in Palakkad district, took oath Tuesday as Minister for Water Resources in the Kerala cabinet, replacing Mathew T Thomas. JD(S) is a constituent of the Left Democratic Front (LDF), headed by CPM in Kerala.
Governor P Sathasivam administered the oath of office and secrecy to Krishnankutty at a brief function at the Raj Bhavan at Thiruvananthapuram. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, members of the state cabinet and MLAs attended the function.
Krishnankutty’s elevation to the cabinet comes after the national leadership of the JD(S) last week approved the plan to rotate the ministership among the party MLAs mid-way into the government’s tenure. Thomas and Krishnankutty represent the prominent factions within the JD(S) in Kerala which wields clout only in certain select constituencies in the state. Thomas’ replacement by Krishnankutty underscores the rift within the regional party in Kerala. Thomas is said to be peeved over his sudden replacement from the cabinet by the party’s national leadership without consensus. The JD(S) currently has three MLAs in the Assembly and had contested the 2016 Assembly elections as part of the LDF.
Krishnankutty, also the state president of the JD(S), is expected to bring to the cabinet his knowledge of agrarian affairs and experience with innovative methods of irrigation. He has been a successful farmer who piloted novel methods of agriculture techniques in his constituency.