Colombo: Two Indian-origin Tamil lawmakers were today inducted as Deputy Ministers in Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa's cabinet, a month ahead of polls in a province where a large number of ethnic Tamils live. Praba Ganeshan and P Digambaram were sworn in as Deputy Ministers by President Rajapaksa at his official residence Temple Trees here.
The appointments assumes significance as it came just days ahead of the Provincial Council Elections in Uva province on September 20, where a considerable number of ethnic Tamils are based.
Praba Ganeshan of Democratic Peoples' Congress was sworn in as Deputy Minister in Telecommunications and Information Technology while P Digambaram of National Workers Union, a plantation sector trade union, has been sworn in as Deputy Minister in National Languages and Social Integration.
Both MPs were elected to the parliament for the first time in 2010 under the main opposition, United National Party, but later crossed over to the government pledging support to the President Rajapaksa.
The latest additions brings up the number of Deputy Ministers in Sri Lanka to 42.
Sri Lankan cabinet has 67 members.
The polls in the Uva province in September is expected to serve as a crucial barometer to both the government and the opposition who are keen to test the political waters before the general and presidential elections, The Nation reported.
The two national elections are due only in 2016. However, there have been indications that the ruling United Peoples' Freedom Alliance (UPFA) is keen to press home the advantage of being the front-runner and stage the two elections ahead of schedule, next year, the paper reported recently.