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New Kerala minister Jayalekshmi creates history

Monday May 23, 2011 08:22:01 PM, IANS

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Thiruvananthapuram: It was only her fourth visit to Kerala's capital city -- but P.K. Jayalekshmi created history Monday by becoming the state's first ever minister from the tribal community.

At 29, the Congress legislator from Mananthavady in Wayanad district is also the youngest to become a minister in the state.

Jayalekshmi was sworn in Monday evening along with 12 others to become part of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy's council of ministers.

A graduate and a diploma holder in computer science, Jayalekshmi belongs to the Kurichiya tribal community in the north-eastern hilly district, over 550 km from the capital city.

She has been to Thiruvananthapuram only three times before.

The last time was when Chandy took oath as chief minister May 18. That was when she saw Raj Bhavan, the governor's official residence, for the first time.

Monday was a busy day for her. She called on state Congress president Ramesh Chennithala, whose record of being the youngest minister in the state she broke by one year.

He wished the new minister all success.

Jayalekshmi is likely to be given charge of Welfare of Backward and Scheduled Communities.

"I will do my best for the development of the tribal community. There are lots of issues and I assure that I will do my best," said Jayalekshmi.

She later met Chandy in his office to seek his blessings and got back with her relatives who had come all the way from Mananthavady, a constituency reserved for Scheduled Tribes candidates.

Jayalekshmi is the only woman in the 38-member Congress legislature party.





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