OR Kelu sworn in as minister in CPI(M)-led LDF government in Kerala

Kelu's induction into the cabinet follows the departure of K Radhakrishnan, who was elected to the 18th Lok Sabha.

BySouth First Desk

Published Jun 23, 2024 | 8:46 PM Updated Jun 23, 2024 | 10:47 PM

OR Kelu sworn in as minister in CPI(M)-led LDF government in Kerala

Mananthavady MLA OR Kelu took oath as a minister in the Pinarayi Vijayan-led LDF government at a ceremony held in Kerala Raj Bhavan on Sunday, 23 June.

Governor Arif Mohammed Khan administered the oath of office to the new minister. Kelu’s induction into the Cabinet follows the resignation of K Radhakrishnan, who was elected to the 18th Lok Sabha.

Kelu’s appointment is significant as he became the first minister from Wayanad in the current Pinarayi Vijayan administration. He will handle the portfolio of Welfare of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and other Backward Classes.

Earlier, PK Jayalakshmi from Wayanad was a minister in the Oommen Chandy Cabinet.

The swearing-in ceremony was attended by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, his Cabinet members, Left Legislators, Leader of Opposition VD Satheesan, and IUML leader PK Kunhalikutty among others.

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.

Also Read: Radhakrishnan rejects row over non-allocation of Devaswom portfolio for Kelu

Criticism over Devaswom portfolio decision

The Left government’s decision to not hand over the Devaswom portfolio to Kelu had invited criticisms from the political parties in the state.

Radhakrishnan justified the LDF’s decision saying that irrespective of portfolios, what was more important is Kelu’s entry into the state Cabinet as a minister from Wayanad.

“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.

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.

Also Read: How BJP’s refusal to make Dalit MP Kodikunnil Suresh pro-tem Speaker united CPI(M), Congress 

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.

(Edited by Shauqueen Mizaj)

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