Ending uncertainty, Suresh Gopi signals he will continue as Minister in Modi 3.0 government

Actor-turned-politician Suresh Gopi has seemingly flip-flopped on his earlier assertion that BJP’s national leadership would relieve him of his ministerial responsibility and permit him to honour his cinema commitments 

Updated - June 11, 2024 02:26 pm IST

Published - June 10, 2024 02:39 pm IST - Thiruvananthapuram

BJP leader and Kerala actor Suresh Gopi has been inducted to Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Union Cabinet as a Minister of State.

BJP leader and Kerala actor Suresh Gopi has been inducted to Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Union Cabinet as a Minister of State. | Photo Credit: K.K. NAJEEB

BJP leader, actor, and Union Minister of State-designate Suresh Gopi, MP, has confirmed that he will continue in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Cabinet, ending two days of political uncertainty that put his party on tenterhooks.

Mr. Gopi has seemingly flip-flopped on his earlier assertion that the BJP’s national leadership would relieve him of his ministerial responsibility and permit the actor-turned-politician to honour his cinema commitments. 

On June 10 afternoon, Mr. Gopi sought to stop the political rumour mill he had put on overdrive by posting his intention on X (formerly Twitter).

Mr. Gopi said: “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. Under the leadership of PM @narendramodi Ji we are committed to the development and prosperity of Kerala.” 

Union Minister Suresh Gopi speaking to the media on June 11 | Video Credit: PTI

Mr. Gopi’s statement came hours after top BJP leaders from Kerala, including P.K. Krishnadas and M.T. Ramesh, called on him in New Delhi, ostensibly to persuade him to continue in the Modi Cabinet to prevent criticism at home.

Mr. Gopi’s final acceptance of the ministerial post had the makings of a cliffhanger up to what seemed to be the final curtains down on the political theatre that riveted public attention for two consecutive days. 

Rumour mills on overdrive

Soon after taking oath on June 9, Mr. Gopi put the political rumour mill on overdrive by telling television journalists that he hoped the BJP national leadership would relieve him of his post. “I have to do cinema at all costs”, he said. 

Mr. Gopi dismissed reports that he felt let down by the BJP’s failure to assign him a Cabinet post or the office of a Union Minister of State with independent charge. “I have not demanded anything. I will continue to work for my constituents in Thrissur”, he added. 

Also Read : Modi 3.0 LIVE Updates

On June 10, a delegation of BJP leaders from Kerala made a beeline for the hotel where Mr. Gopi stayed with his family in the national capital. They hoped to convince Mr. Gopi to accept the post, prevent the BJP from losing face, and help the party maintain its winning streak in Kerala

Earlier, the Congress had lampooned Mr. Gopi on social media for his alleged capriciousness.

The Congress party in Kerala posted somewhat caustically on X: “Actor and BJP MP Suresh Gopi took oath as MoS yesterday, and their portfolio is yet to be assigned. Today he wants to quit because he wants to do films! He is sure that leadership will relieve him soon. Why this mockery of voters? Why don’t you tell your MP first to decide what he wants to do in life and, most importantly, stop this show in front of the media after taking oath in the name of God and the Constitution?”

Mr. Gopi had defied political pundits and broke new ground of great political importance for the BJP in South India by winning the Thrissur Lok Sabha constituency in Kerala. 

Mr. Modi had supercharged Mr. Gopi’s campaign by holding high-decibel roadshows and making recurrent appearances in Thrissur. He also attended the wedding of Mr. Gopi’s daughter at the iconic Sree Krishna temple in Guruvayur, suggesting a personal bond between him and the actor. 

The curtains were yet to come down on the political theatre that commenced in Thiruvananthapuram on June 9, the swearing-in day. 

Mr. Gopi kept the public in suspense for the better part of the day. A phalanx of television cameras and news crew pitched camp outside his residence in the Kerala capital, waiting to see whether he would fly to New Delhi to take the ministerial oath. 

Finally, Mr. Gopi headed to the airport amid reports that Mr Modi had summoned him personally. Mr. Gopi’s screen persona arguably played a significant role in propelling him from stardom to political power. 

His punchlines and hyper-masculine roles as larger-than-life heroes fighting injustice in Malayalam movies still resonated strongly among the masses and on social media. 

The BJP significantly increased its vote share in Kerala in the Lok 2024 Sabha polls. It dominated in 11 Assembly segments, stunning the ruling Left front and the Opposition. It also made substantial inroads into Kerala’s Christian community, particularly in Thrissur.

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