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Kerala: Tribal leader from Wayanad made minister in Pinarayi Vijayan cabinet

Mananthavady MLA O.R. Kelu was appointed as Kerala's new Minister for the Welfare of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Backward Classes, succeeding K. Radhakrishnan following his election to Parliament.

Kerala: Tribal leader from Wayanad made minister in Pinarayi Vijayan cabinet anr
First Published Jun 20, 2024, 3:03 PM IST

Thiruvananthapuram: Mananthavady MLA O.R. Kelu will succeed K. Radhakrishnan, who was elected to the Lok Sabha from Alathur, as Minister for Scheduled Tribes, Scheduled Castes, and Backward Classes. M.B. Rajesh and V.N. Vasavan will take on the Parliamentary Affairs and Devaswom portfolios, respectively. Kelu will be the first CPM minister from Wayanad district.

Kelu is the first Scheduled Tribe leader from Wayanad district to join the CPM State committee. He also serves as the State president of Adivasi Kshema Samithi, the party's tribal front organization.

The CPIM leader is the second person from the Scheduled Tribes community in Kerala to become a minister, following UDF's P.K. Jayalakshmi. He won the Mananthavady constituency in the 2016 assembly elections by defeating Jayalakshmi and repeated his success in 2021.

Kelu's candidacy was under consideration from the outset due to his involvement in the CPM state committee and his role in the tribal welfare committee. His appointment signifies the first representation from Wayanad in the cabinet, as Wayanad had no minister in the initial Pinarayi administration.

He served as a member of Tirunelli Grama Panchayat for five years and later as its President for a decade. Additionally, he was a member of Mananthavady Block Panchayat for two years.

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