Thiruvananthapuram: Former state BJP president V. Muraleedharan, 60, was sworn in as minister of state in the second Narendra Modi government on Thursday.
This for the first time a Kerala BJP leader is being sworn in along with the prime minister. Earlier, O. Rajagopal and K.J. Alphons Kannamthanam had joined the Vajpayee and Modi ministries respectively after a long wait.
Muraleedharan was the 52nd minister to take oath out of a total of 58 members in the Modi team. His proximity to national party president Amit Shah had triggered speculation earlier that he would become a minister.
He has proved his organisational abilities and enjoys the blessings of the state RSS leadership. After his second term as state party president, Kummanam Rajasekharan succeeded him. He had also served as a pracharak of RSS for 13 years, but his decision to get married brought him to ABVP and later to the BJP.
Kummanam and Alphons Kannamthanam did not find a place in the ministry and it is not known whether they would be taken later. Muraleedharan will play a crucial role in the elections to the local bodies and the Assembly. He is also likely to be made the national general secretary. Currently, he holds the charge of Andhra Pradesh.