BJP in Kerala celebrates Narendra Modi`s swearing-in

Though Kerala has no representation in the Narendra Modi ministry that assumed office on Monday, the BJP turned it into a festive occasion across the state distributing tea and sweets in party offices.

PTI| Updated: May 26, 2014, 21:57 PM IST

Thiruvananthapuram: Though Kerala has no representation in the Narendra Modi ministry that assumed office on Monday, the BJP turned it into a festive occasion across the state distributing tea and sweets in party offices.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy did not not attend the swearing-in though he received the invitation for the ceremony.

Chandy, who cited pre-scheduled engagement as reason for his decision, said he would be seeking an appointment with Modi when he visits Delhi next time.

A festive mood gripped BJP state headquarters "Mararji Bhavan" here, where a large number of party workers and sympathisers gathered to watch the swearing-in on a big screen installed there.

A tea stall was also set up in the premises offering free tea and snacks to the gathering, which obviously symbolised rise of Modi from humble beginnings to the high office.

Besides bursting crackers, the party workers distributed sweets as Modi and his team were sworn-in by President Pranab Mukherjee.

Though BJP had put up candidates in all the 20 Lok Sabha seats, the saffron party failed to open its account this time as well, rendering dim the state`s chances of getting a representation in the Union Council of Ministers.

In the Vajpayee ministry, Kerala had a representation with the induction of O Rajagopal. He was earlier made a Rajya Sabha member from Madhya Pradesh by BJP as a special consideration towards the state where the party hemmed in by the UDF and the LDF persistently failed to make an electoral breakthrough.

Rajagopal, who was fielded in Thiruvananthapuram this time by his party on the promise that he would be a cabinet minister if elected, lost to Congress`s Shashi Tharoor as a close runner-up.

In a similar situation in 1977, when Kerala did not have a single MP from the Janata Party that came to power, Ravindra Varma, a Keralite who spent much of his public life outside the state was made a minister in the Morarji Desai ministry.

Varma, who handled Labour and Parliamentary affairs in the Janata Party Government, was elected to the Lok Sabha from Ranchi, which was in Bihar then.

In the previous UPA government, Kerala had eight ministers, two of them - A K Antony and Vayalar Ravi - had cabinet rank.