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Still no Kerala face in Union Cabinet

Still no Kerala face in Union Cabinet

New Delhi: Kerala, which rejected BJP in the Lok Sabha elections, does not have any representation in the Union Council of Ministers even after its expansion on Sunday.

BJP, which is yet to open its account in the state, had given a ministerial berth to its veteran leader O Rajagopal in Atal Bihari Vajpayee regime in 1999. He was a Rajya Sabha member from Madhya Pradesh. Rajagopal was inducted as a Minister of State for Railways in the first NDA government.

BJP's state unit chief V Muraleedharan said Kerala was not represented in the Narendra Modi government as the party could not win a single seat from the southern state in Lok Sabha polls. When pointed out that Rajagopal was inducted as a minister by Vajpayee, state BJP leaders argued that he was already an elected Rajya Sabha member from Madhya Pradesh when the first NDA government came to power and that situation paved way for his entry into Vajpayee government.

Muraleedharan dismissed suggestions that absence of a Keralite in the Central government will affect the state's progress and said that it was Modi government which gave clearance to its various development projects.

He cited the Modi government's decision to sanction viability gap funding for multi-crore Vizhinjam international container transshipment terminal project in Thirunvananthapuram and allocation of funds for an IIT for Kerala in the first budget presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

Muraleedharan claimed that Modi government was doing much better job than the previous UPA government for the state's development even though there were eight Union ministers from Kerala in the previous regime. He, however, admitted that the BJP leaders and workers in the state should double their efforts to get people's mandate in favour of the party in coming elections.

"Rajagopal would have won, had we put little more effort in Thiruvananthapuram. If he had won he would have been a minister," Muraleedharan said.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and several other non-BJP leaders from the state refused to comment when asked about lack of Kerala's representation in the Union Cabinet.

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