KOCHI: A day after Thrissur MP Suresh Gopi was sworn in as a Union minister of state (MoS) in the Narendra Modi-led government, the 65-year-old actor-politician said he wanted to be relieved of the new responsibility because of his commitments to some film projects.

Gopi, a leading Malayalam film actor scripted history by becoming the first Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP to be elected from Kerala in the just-concluded national elections. A party leader said the actor was unhappy over his induction as the MoS and had hoped to be appointed a cabinet minister or at least, minister of state (independent charge).

Gopi denied that he wanted a cabinet post. “I had not demanded anything. I had said that I don’t want it (union ministry role). I think I will be relieved soon. As an MP for Thrissur, I can play a very important role. I have to do films. Let them (BJP leadership) decide,” he told reporters in Delhi.

People familiar with the matter said the actor had indicated ahead of the oath ceremony on Sunday that he wasn’t keen on joining as MoS and had flown back to Thiruvananthapuram, on Sunday morning. But he returned to Delhi with his wife and took oath as a Union minister of state after the party’s top leadership intervened.

Apart from Suresh Gopi, PM Modi also inducted George Kurian, an advocate and Kerala BJP general secretary, into his 71-member council of ministers. Kurian, who hails from the influential Syro-Malabar Church, has been the Kerala BJP’s organisation man for the last four decades. He has served as vice-chairman of the national commission for minorities and the officer on special duty (OSD) to O Rajagopal, the veteran BJP leader during his term as Union minister under the AB Vajpayee government. Kurian’s induction is seen as the BJP’s continued outreach to the Christian community ahead of the 2026 assembly elections.

Suresh Gopi won the Thrissur constituency by a margin of over 74,000 votes defeating the Communist Party of India and Congress candidates. In the run-up to the elections, Gopi repeatedly underscored that if he won, he would have a place in the union council of ministers and have a hotline with the government’s top union ministers that would enable him to implement the schemes and projects he had planned for Thrissur and Kerala in general.

Asked if Gopi would continue as union minister, BJP state president K Surendran said: “The PM has made him a minister. These matters do not come under my jurisdiction. Please don’t trouble me with these questions.”

Gopi joined the BJP at PM Modi’s insistence in October 2016 after being nominated to the Rajya Sabha by the Centre under the Arts category. During his stint in the Upper House, he chose Thiruvananthapuram as the nodal district and implemented various development projects using the MPLADS funds. He first contested the Thrissur Lok Sabha elections in 2019 and lost with a 28% vote share. Two years later, he lost the Thrissur assembly election as well before winning the Lok Sabha seat last week with a 38% vote share.

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2024-06-10T09:32:29Z dg43tfdfdgfd