Ex-Minister K Radhakrishnan rejects row over non-allocation of Devaswom portfolio for Kelu

Radhakrishnan said irrespective of portfolios, what is more important is Kelu's entry into the state Cabinet as a minister.

BySouth First Desk

Published Jun 23, 2024 | 2:15 PM Updated Jun 23, 2024 | 2:15 PM

K Radhakrishnan

CPI(M) central committee member and former Kerala minister K Radhakrishnan on Sunday, 23 June, justified the LDF’s decision not to give the Devaswom portfolio, which had been handled by him, to party MLA OR Kelu.

Kelu will replace Radhakrishnan and take oath as a minister in the Pinarayi Vijayan Cabinet on Sunday evening at a special ceremony to be held at the Raj Bhavan in Thiruvananthapuram.

Radhakrishnan had resigned as minister for the Welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, Parliamentary Affairs and Devaswom after being elected to the Lok Sabha from the Alathur constituency.

Meanwhile, other political parties have criticised the Left government for not reportedly handing over the Devaswom portfolio to Kelu.

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Hails Kelu’s entry into the Cabinet

Talking to a television channel, Radhakrishnan said irrespective of portfolios, what is more important is his entry into the state Cabinet as a minister.

“As far as Kelu is concerned, it is for the first time that a person belonging to the tribal community is becoming a minister. We should see that merit first,” he said.

He also said there might be differences in the portfolio but what is more important is that he could become a minister from Wayanad.

Radhakrishnan said newcomers should become capable of handling the portfolios assigned to them and the present portfolio is entrusted to Kelu with the expectation that he would handle it well.

A 54-year-old CPI(M) leader from a tribal community in Wayanad, Kelu was recently recommended by the CPI(M) state committee to be inducted as a minister in the LDF cabinet.

Although there is a clear indication that Kelu will get the portfolio of Welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, sources said there would be a minor shuffle in the portfolios previously held by Radhakrishnan.

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Congress slams government

The Congress-led Opposition UDF on Saturday said it was a wrong decision on the part of the LDF government to not give the Devaswom portfolio to Kelu.

Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly VD Satheesan said Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan who correctly opposed the non-appointment of Congress MP Kodikunnil Suresh as pro-tem Speaker in the Lok Sabha, took a different stand when it came to Kelu.

Satheesan informed that the opposition will participate in the swearing-in ceremony, but said it was not clear why Kelu was not given the Devaswom portfolio.

“That is a wrong decision. The state government showed the same attitude in Kelu’s case as the Centre did when it did not make Suresh, the senior most MP in the Lok Sabha, the pro-tem Speaker,” he said.

(With PTI inputs)

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