OR Kelu to become Kerala's Minister for Welfare of SC, ST; second from Kurichya community

OR Kelu. Photo: Manorama

Thiruvananthapuram: Mananthavady MLA OR Kelu will replace K Radhakrishnan, who was elected to the Lok Sabha from Alathur, as Minister for Scheduled Tribes, Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes. MB Rajesh and VN Vasavan will handle the Parliamentary Affairs and Devaswom portfolios respectively. 

Kelu is the second person to become a minister from the Scheduled Tribes' community in the State after UDF's PK Jayalakshmi. Kelu had secured victory in the Mananthavady constituency in the 2016 assembly elections after defeating Jayalakshmi. He repeated his success in 2021. 

Kelu's name was considered for the post since the beginning due to his membership in the CPM state committee and his position in the tribal welfare committee. With this, Wayanad will gain representation in the cabinet for the first time. There was no minister from Wayanad in the first Pinarayi government either.

The CPM State Secretariat arrived at the final decision after much deliberation. OR Kelu is the first Scheduled Tribe leader from Wayanad district to ascend to the CPM state committee. Kelu, hailing from the Kurichya community, also chairs the Legislative Committee on Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Backward Welfare. Kelu had been a member of Tirunelli Grama Panchayat for five years, President, Tirunelli Grama Panchayat for 10 years and member, Mananthavady block panchayat for 2 years. He is married to Santha PK and has two daughters. He was born to Raman and Ammu in Wayanad in 1970. 

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