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Kerala: O R Kelu is the new minister in Pinarayi Vijayan cabinet

The 54-year-old CPI(M) leader from the tribal community in Wayanad replaces K Radhakrishnan, who resigned as Minister for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, Parliamentary Affairs and Devaswom after being elected to the Lok Sabha from the Alathur seat.
Last Updated : 20 June 2024, 13:51 IST

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Thiruvananthapuram: Mananthavady MLA O R Kelu has been inducted as a minister in the CPI(M)-led LDF government in Kerala.

The 54-year-old CPI(M) leader from the tribal community in Wayanad replaces K Radhakrishnan, who resigned as Minister for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, Parliamentary Affairs and Devaswom after being elected to the Lok Sabha from the Alathur seat.

The Chief Minister's Office (CMO) has sought the convenience of Governor Arif Mohammed Khan for the oath-taking ceremony of Kelu on Sunday afternoon, sources added.

Kelu gets the ministry for Scheduled Tribes, Scheduled Castes, and Backward Classes. While Devaswom portfolio held by Radhakrishnan is given to cooperation minister V N Vasavan, Parliamentary Affairs has been transferred to excise minister M B Rajesh.

Addressing the media, Kelu said he does not feel anything special about his roles, as they are decided by the party.

"I have been working closely with the SC/ST community and understand the issues they face. So, the effort will be to carry forward the plans of the party for these communities," he said.

A state committee member of the CPI(M), Kelu said as a minister from Wayanad, issues like the human-animal conflict, a chronic issue in the district, will be given special focus.

Kelu, a leader connected with the grassroots, was a two-time MLA from the Mananthavady constituency.

When he was elected in 2016, his majority was 1,307 votes.

By 2021, the margin rose to 9,282 votes. P K Jayalakshmi, who was also a minister in the Congress-led UDF government, was the main opponent in both elections.

Born in the Kurichya community, Kelu grew up with a strong connection to the grassroots.

He supported his people through their hardships, becoming a reliable ally, a party source said.

As an MLA, Kelu used his deep understanding of the region's needs to drive development and progress, the source added.

With PTI input

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Published 20 June 2024, 13:51 IST

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