Although the BJP holds only one seat in the Assembly and has no Lok Sabha member from Kerala, Rajya Sabha member V. Muraleedharan is credited with building the BJP steadily in a state for long divided between the Congress-led UDF and Left.
The 60-year-old, who on Thursday became the only Minister from Kerala to take oath as a member of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ministry, entered full-time politics after quitting a government job.
Starting off as an activist of the ABVP in 1983, Muraleedharan was rewarded for his organizational skills when he was made the Vice Chairman of the Nehru Yuva Kendra from 1999 to 2002 and for another two years, he became its Director General.
In 2006, he was appointed the Vice President of the Kerala unit of the BJP and in 2010 he was elevated as its president, a post he held till 2016.
He came second in the Kazhakootam Assembly constituency in 2016, pushing the sitting Congress legislator to the third position.
In March 2018, Muraleedharan became the first BJP leader from Kerala to be nominated to the Rajya Sabha from Maharashtra.
Muraleedharan, who hails from Tellicherry in Kannur district, belongs to the Hindu Ezhava community. Kannur has seen maximum violence involving the RSS and the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) as the former began expanding its base.
His wife, K.S. Jayasree, is a college professor.
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