THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Mananthavady MLA O R Kelu will replace K Radhakrishnan in the state cabinet. The CPM state committee has cleared his name, and he will be sworn in as minister at a function scheduled at Raj Bhavan at 4pm on June 23.
Kelu, however, will get only the SC/ST development portfolio handled by Radhakrishnan, who resigned as MLA after he won Alathur seat in Lok Sabha polls.Radhakrishnan’s other portfolios — devaswom and parliamentary affairs — will be shared by cooperatives and ports minister V N Vasavan and excise minister M B Rajesh.
Wrested seat from UDF in ’16
It’s not clear if there will be more shuffling of portfolios among ministers.
Known for his affable nature and commitment to constituency, Kelu will be the first minister from Wayanad in LDF govt.
He was the first scheduled tribe member to be inducted into the CPM state committee.
Kelu was expected to make it to the second Pinarayi cabinet when he retained Mananthavady seat, which he wrested from former UDF minister P K Jayalakshmi in 2016, but it didn’t happen. Though there were rumours about CPM weighing several options to fill Radhakrishnan’s vacancy, there was not much confusion in the party state committee over who should replace him.
Kelu told a television channel that he was happy over the party’s decision and even justified the party decision to limit his portfolio to SC/ST development. “Me being a novice, the party decided to give portfolios that require more experience to seniors,” he said.
CPM state secretary M V Govindan, however, refused to comment on Kelu’s induction into cabinet, saying chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan will let the media know about such matters at the appropriate time.

We also published the following articles recently