Suresh Gopi Minister of State Petroleum and Gas but not before lighting a fire of his own

Suresh Gopi has courted controversy after becoming the first BJP from Kerala, a state with over 5000 RSS shakhas and no winning leader to show before him.
"Grossly incorrect": BJP's first Lok Sabha MP from Kerala Suresh Gopi on quitting ministerial berth
"Grossly incorrect": BJP's first Lok Sabha MP from Kerala Suresh Gopi on quitting ministerial berthFile Photo

Suresh Gopi, the man who breached Fortress Kerala for the BJP by winning the Thrissur Lok Sabha election, is now officially a minister in Modi 3.0.

The film star was named the Minister of State in the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Minister of State in the Ministry of Tourism on Monday. But the soon-to-be 66-year-old's ascension to his latest role came after what was possibly Modi 3.0's first firefighting exercise.

Gopi himself lit the fire after the swearing-in on Sunday by telling the Manorama TV news channel that "I expect I will be relieved from the Union ministry. I have to finish my movies. Let the central leadership decide. As the MP, I will perform to the best of my abilities in Thrissur. I had maintained that I do not want the cabinet position."

Soon came the obvious questions.

Was he saying this to really complete his pending movies? Or was it that he was unhappy as he had not been given a Cabinet minister's post?

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After all, the shift in stance had come after he rushed to Delhi on Sunday afternoon to "obey the Prime Minister", as he had put it then.

There were those who quickly began pointing out how Suresh Gopi's campaign had harped on the fact that every vote for him was a vote for a Cabinet minister to buttress their "he's miffed" argument.

One of the popular slogans during the campaign had even said "A Union minister for Thrissur is Modi's guarantee", they pointed out.

Suresh Gopi's campaign poster that ran on social media too.
Suresh Gopi's campaign poster that ran on social media too.

Even otherwise, the film star would not have been unreasonable if he had assumed that he would be given nothing less than a Cabinet rank. Becoming the first MP from his party in a state where it had little to show except over 5000 RSS shakhas earlier was achievement enough to earn the reward, most felt.

In the end, the hope did not materialise.

There were only three Cabinet ministers from the South, that's if you include Nirmala Sitharaman, a Rajya Sabha from Karnataka.

The TDP's three-time MP Ram Mohan Naidu and the JD(U)'s ex-Karnataka CM HD Kumaraswamy were the other two who made it to the ministerial high table. And this only because they were from the camp of the allies in a Cabinet that saw UP walk away with the highest number of ministers -- 11.

On Monday afternoon, at 2:54 pm, came the post from the actor to clarify that he will be staying on in the ministry.

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"A few media platforms are spreading the incorrect news that I am going to resign from the Council of Ministers of the Modi Government. This is grossly incorrect. Under the leadership of PM@narendramodi Ji we are committed to the development and prosperity of Kerala," he tweeted.

Sources whom The New Indian Express contacted said two senior Kerala BJP leaders had spoken to Suresh Gopi and convinced him that a hasty move on his part would be ill-advised.

The sequence of events on Monday comes as little surprise to those who know the highly temperamental star.

An emotional being, he has remained unpredictable, almost throughout, be it in cinema or politics.

Once an activist of the Students' Federation of India, the left-wing student organisation, according to his own claims, the actor-turned politician had often proclaimed his love and adoration for politicians like K Karunakaran (Congress) and EK Nayanar (CPM), before ending up as part of the saffron clan.

(With Express News Service inputs)

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