O R Kelu likely to replace Radhakrishnan

While the names of Mananthavady MLA O R Kelu along with a few youngsters like P V Sreenijin have been doing the rounds, the ongoing CPM state committee meeting is expected to take a call in this regard.
Mananthavady MLA O R Kelu (R), SC/ST welfare minister K Radhakrishnan (L)
Mananthavady MLA O R Kelu (R), SC/ST welfare minister K Radhakrishnan (L)

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM : SC/ST welfare minister K Radhakrishnan’s stepping down, after being elected to Parliament, has paved the way for discussions on cabinet reshuffle.

While the names of Mananthavady MLA O R Kelu along with a few youngsters like P V Sreenijin have been doing the rounds, the ongoing CPM state committee meeting is expected to take a call in this regard.

Since Radhakrishnan belonged to the SC category, there are indications that the party may choose a leader from SC/ST categories in his place. In that case, senior leader and CPM state committee member O R Kelu would get first preference. He’s the first leader from Scheduled Tribe to be elected to the CPM state committee.

A two-time MLA and leader of the Tribal Welfare Committee, Kelu belongs to the Kurichya community. Choosing him would ensure that Wayanad gets representation in the Pinarayi cabinet. Kelu is now part of the assembly panel on SC/St welfare. Though Kelu gets priority due to his seniority in the party, a few other names are also doing the rounds. This includes Kunnathunad MLA P V Sreenijin, K M Sachin Dev of Balussery and P P Sumod of Tarur. The party has 8 MLAs from SC/ST category.

U R Pradeep likely to contest from Chelakkara

Meanwhile, discussions have also started on the CPM candidate from Chelakkara, which was represented by K Radhakrishnan since 1996, except once during 2016-21. There are indications that the party may choose the former MLA from here, U R Pradeep, who’s now chairman of the SC/ST Corporation, to contest. When Radhakrishnan’s candidature to Lok Sabha was announced, there was an implicit understanding that the party may choose Pradeep to contest from here. Meanwhile the party may also consider giving Radhakrishnan’s portfolios to another minister for the time being.

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