“It is a great news. I was not expecting this. It is a great surprise,” Mr Alphons told reporters this morning on his way to attend the meeting with the PM Modi this morning.
A retired IAS officer of 1979 batch, Mr Alphons had made his entry into politics and was backed by the CPM during his first election in Kerala. In 2011, he had joined the BJP.
His induction in the ministry is expected to ensure representation from Kerala, a vital non-BJP state where Amit Shah wants to expand the party’s footprint. The move is also meant to reach out to the minority Christian community in Kerala.
Last year, PM Modi appointed Mr Alphons as the administrator of Chandigarh, but had to withdraw the order after protests by the Punjab government.
The man who featured in Time magazine’s list of 100 Young Global Leaders in 1994, was known as the “demolition man” during his stint in Delhi as the as the Delhi Development Authority’s land commissioner for the drive to remove encroachments.