Suresh Gopi, BJP's first Lok Sabha MP from Kerala, named minister of state for tourism and petroleum | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Suresh Gopi, BJP's first Lok Sabha MP from Kerala, named minister of state for tourism and petroleum

Jun 10, 2024 08:24 PM IST

Malayalam actor Suresh Gopi made history by becoming the first BJP MP from Kerala, marking the party’s first-ever victory in the Lok Sabha election.

Actor-turned politician Suresh Gopi was made Minister of State for Tourism, Petroleum and Natural Gas on Monday as Prime Minister Narendra Modi allocated portfolios to his Union council of ministers.

BJP leader Suresh Gopi greets Prime Minister Narendra Modi as taking oath as minister of state at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Sunday. (Hindustan Times/Ajay Aggarwal)(HT_PRINT)
BJP leader Suresh Gopi greets Prime Minister Narendra Modi as taking oath as minister of state at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Sunday. (Hindustan Times/Ajay Aggarwal)(HT_PRINT)

The Malayalam actor-turned-politician has made history by becoming the first BJP MP from Kerala, marking the party’s first-ever victory in the Lok Sabha election.

He ran from the Thrissur constituency and defeated Communist Party of India (CPI) candidate Sunil Kumar by a margin of 74,686 votes. Gopi was sworn in as a Minister of State in the Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government on Sunday.

A day after taking oath, there were media reports that the 65-year-old politician has decided to withdraw from the council of ministers.

"I expect I will be relieved from the Union ministry. I have to finish my movies. Let the central leadership decide. As the MP, I will perform to the best of my abilities in Thrissur. I had maintained that I do not want the cabinet position,” Manorama News quoted him saying.

Read: Kurian: The surprise BJP choice from Kerala

However, the Lok Sabha MP rubbished the reports saying it is a matter of pride for him to be in the council of ministers of the Modi government.

“A few media platforms are spreading the incorrect news that I am going to resign from the Council of Ministers of the Modi Government. This is grossly incorrect. It is a matter of pride for me to be in the Council of Ministers of the Modi Government and to represent the people of Kerala. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi Ji, we are committed to the development and prosperity of Kerala,” Suresh Gopi wrote on social media platform X (formerly Twitter)

Suresh Gopi first contested the polls from the Thrissur seat in 2019 but lost to Congress party’s TN Prathapan by 121,267 votes, finishing third. However, his participation saw the BJP’s vote share rise from 11.1% in 2014 to an impressive 28.2% in 2019. In 2021, Gopi also contested the Kerala State Assembly elections from the Thrissur segment but lost by 3,806 votes.

His political journey began in April 2016 as a Rajya Sabha member, nominated by the President of India in the category of eminent citizens. In October of the same year, he officially joined the Bharatiya Janata Party. During his tenure in the upper house of Parliament, Gopi served as a member of the standing committee for information and technology and a member of the consultative committee for civil aviation.

Read more: Narendra Modi Cabinet 3.0: Full list of Union ministers

Gopi has also faced several controversies as he was accused of inappropriately touching a woman reporter in 2023 while speaking to the media and later apologised.

“I have never misbehaved with anyone either in public space or privately. I had touched the reporter with fatherly affection. But if the person felt that I was behaving inappropriately, I respect her feelings. If my behaviour has hurt her, I apologize for it,” Gopi wrote on Facebook.

In the 1990s, Gopi gave tough competition to Malayalam superstars Mohanlal and Mammootty in terms of cinema popularity and box-office numbers.

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