Kerala misses the bus in Modi’s cabinet expansion

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Thiruvananthapuram, July 5 (IANS) Absence of any Keralite in 19 new central ministers means the BJP leadership isn’t ready yet to make good on its promise that the state would get representation in the cabinet if the party performs well in assembly polls.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) opened its account in Kerala assembly in elections held in May with O. Rajagopal winning the Nemom seat.

In seven other constituencies, the party finished second, up from just three second places in the previous election.

That does not seem to have been a “good” performance for the BJP national leadership which otherwise hailed the party’s debut in the state assembly as “historic”.

There is no Keralite among the 19 who took oath on Tuesday as new members of the Narendra Modi cabinet.

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During the assembly election campaign in March-April, several national leaders of the BJP had hinted that if the state leaders put up a credible performance, one of them will be given a central cabinet berth.

Air of expectancy in Kerala heightened after O. Rajagopal became the first BJP legislator to enter the Kerala assembly.

There was more buzz after the central government nominated Suresh Gopi to the Rajya Sabha.

But Gopi’s chances to get a cabinet berth got clouded when some state party leaders opined that since he has already got the benefit of a surprise nomination, even while not fully turning a BJP worker, another boon for him would be unwarranted.

Then came another speculation that Keralite business honcho Rajiv Chandrasekhar, elected to the Rajya Sabha from Karnataka, could be made a central minister.

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Chandrasekhar’s chances, if any, also dimmed after BJP’s state leadership said the Asianet TV channel which he controls was quite critical of the party during assembly elections.

Let down on Tuesday, the state BJP leaders now look with hope at the party reorganisation exercise which is said to be imminent.

At present, there are four former state presidents of the party who are very active in the state and all have been hopeful that they will get new responsibilities.



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