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CPI-M tribal leader Kelu sworn in as new Kerala Minister

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Thiruvananthapuram, June 23 (IANS) O.R. Kelu was sworn in as Kerala’s new SC/ST Minister by Governor Arif Mohammed Khan on Sunday, creating history as he is the first tribal leader from the CPI-M, as well as the party’s first from the Wayanad district to become a member of the state council of ministers.Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and his cabinet ministers were also present on the occasion. Leader of Opposition V.D.Satheesan and veteran IUML legislator P.K. Kunhalikutty also attended.A two-time legislator representing the Mananthavady constituency, Kelu, 53, got his chance after incumbent SC/ST Minister, K Radhakrishnan resigned after being elected to the Lok Sabha from the Alathur Lok Sabha constituency in Palakkad district. However, the portfolios of Devasoms and Parliamentary Affairs which Radhakrishnan held have been given to V.N. Vasavan and M.B. Rajesh, respectively and this had invited criticism from the Congress and BJP leaders.In 2016 and 2021, Kelu defeated Congress leader P.K. Jayalekshmi, a former minister in the Oommen Chandy cabinet (2011-16).Kelu is a popular leader and has yet to taste defeat in any election starting from the grassroots. His father, who witnessed the swearing-in ceremony, said he wishes his son who has been in public life for a long time all the best and wishes he can do good for allBack in the hilly district of Wayanad, people in Kelu’s home town burst crackers to celebrate his elevation.–IANSsg/vd

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