OR Kelu of CPI(M) set to take oath as Kerala minister

OR Kelu
OR Kelu

Thiruvananthapuram | Mananthavady MLA O R Kelu will be inducted as a minister in the CPI(M)-led LDF government in Kerala, sources said here on Thursday.

The 54-year-old CPI(M) leader from the tribal community in Wayanad will replace 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.

Kelu has been recommended by the CPI(M) state committee to be inducted as a minister in the Pinarayi Vijayan-led LDF ministry, they said.

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.

Although there is a clear indication that Kelu will get the portfolio of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST), sources said that there will be a minor shuffle in the portfolios held by Radhakrishnan.

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.

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