O R Kelu sworn in as minister

CPI(M) MLA O R Kelu was sworn in as a Minister in the CPI(M)-led LDF government in Kerala on Sunday at the Raj Bhavan here.

Thiruvananthapuram | Senior CPI(M) leader and MLA O R Kelu was sworn in as a minister in the Left Front government in Kerala on Sunday at Raj Bhavan here.

Governor Arif Mohammed Khan administered the oath of office to the new minister.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, his cabinet colleagues, Left Legislators, Leader of Opposition V D Satheesan and IUML leader P K Kunhalikutty, among others, were present.

The family members of Kelu, who is an elected representative from Mananthavady constituency in Wayanad District, also took part in the ceremony.

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

Kelu was recommended by the CPI(M) state committee to be inducted as a minister in the LDF cabinet.

After the ceremony, he went to the state secretariat here and took charge as the minister for the Welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Welfare Department.

In his first decision as minister, Kelu on Sunday launched the "online treatment assistance disbursal" system for the Scheduled Tribes community in the state.

Talking to the media after taking charge, the minister said he would try to rise to the expectations of the people of Wayanad District.

"Our first priority will be to implement the welfare projects for the SC/ST communities in the state and ensure that they receive the benefits without any hassle," Kelu said.

On the issue of human-animal conflict in the district, Kelu said the department will coordinate with the MLAs, the MP, the state and the central governments and take joint efforts to resolve the issue.

He is also a state committee member of the ruling CPI(M).

Kelu is the second person from the Scheduled Tribes community to become a minister in the state. Congress leader P K Jayalekshmi was the first. She was a part of the Oommen Chandy government.

He began his public life as a ward member from Thirunelli Panchayat in the year 2000. He was the president of the panchayat from 2005 to 2015. Later he was elected to the Mananthavady Block Panachayat.

Kelu became an MLA for the first time from Mananthavady constituency after defeating Jayalekshmi in 2016. He was re-elected in 2021.

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