CPI(M) tribal leader OR Kelu sworn in as new Kerala Minister

He is the first tribal leader from the CPI(M), as well as the party's first from the Wayanad district, to become a member of the state council of ministers.
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OR Kelu was sworn in as Kerala's new SC/ST Minister by Governor Arif Mohammed Khan on Sunday, June 23, creating history as he is the first tribal leader from the CPI(M), as well as the party's first from the Wayanad district, to become a member of the state council of ministers. 

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and his cabinet ministers were also present on the occasion. Leader of Opposition VD Satheesan and veteran IUML legislator PK Kunhalikutty also attended the event.

A two-time legislator representing the Mananthavady constituency, Kelu, 53, got his chance after incumbent SC/ST Minister, K Radhakrishnan resigned following his victory  in the Lok Sabha election from the Alathur constituency of Palakkad district. However, the portfolios of Devasoms and Parliamentary Affairs which Radhakrishnan held have been given to VN Vasavan and MB Rajesh respectively and this had invited criticism from leaders of the Congress and the BJP.

After taking oath, he said that he was pleased by the presence of the Opposition at the event, and that they will together work for a solution to the wild animal attacks in Wayanad, and for bringing a medical college to the district.

In 2016 and 2021, Kelu defeated Congress leader PK Jayalekshmi, a former minister in the Oommen Chandy cabinet (2011-16), to become a Member of the Legislative Assembly. 

Kelu is a popular leader and has yet to taste defeat in any election, starting his political work from the grassroots. His father, who witnessed the swearing-in ceremony, wished his son who has been in public life for a long time the very best and expressed hope that he will do right by everyone. 

Back in the hilly district of Wayanad, people in Kelu’s hometown burst crackers to celebrate his elevation.


(With IANS inputs)

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