Archery star to be Kerala's first tribal minister

A member of the Kurichia community and unmarried, Jayalakshmi, 29, is a former state and university archery champion. She is the only woman in the 38-member Congress legislature party.

Jayalakshmi was stunned when she was handpicked by Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi during a talent search among Youth Congress activists a few months ago. Congress leaders say that it was her works in the grassroots level that attracted the party.

The first woman graduate from her community, that too in English literature, she successfully contested the panchayat elections in 2006 and became a member of the Thavinjaal gram panchayat. She went on to become the panchayat president and her panchayat even bagged the national award for implementing the NREG Scheme successfully.

“My ministership is a recognition for the Scheduled Tribes and other backward communities in the state,’’ she said.

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