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Chandy to expand cabinet, IUML gets fifth berth

Thursday April 12, 2012 09:56:37 AM, IANS

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Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy finally succumbed to the pressures of coalition politics and handed over a fifth berth to Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) here Wednesday.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday night Chandy said that M. Ali and recently elected legislator Anup Jacob would be sworn in Thursday.

"We have a system in the United Democratic Front (UDF) to discuss and debate things and things have ended smoothly. The decision to give the fifth berth is a political decision," said Chandy soon after chairing a meeting of the UDF.

With this, the strength of the Chandy cabinet has touched 21.

IUML is the second biggest ally of the UDF and since May last year has been demanding a fifth berth, which its leader Panakkad Hyder Ali Sihab Thangal had announced then.

The delay arose after serious discussions began across the state of the minority communities (Muslims and Christians) having a larger share in power.

Karnataka Governor H.R. Bhardwaraj, who is standing in as Governor here also will swear in the two new legislators as minister's Thursday at 10 a.m. at the Raj Bhavan.

Anup Jacob, 34, had won the Piravom assembly seat by a thumping majority in March. He is the son of former state food and civil supplies minister T.M. Jacob, who passed away last year.

Ali, 60, is a hugely successful film producer and businessman. He began his political career by winning as a Left supported legislator defeating a IUML candidate in 2001 and repeated his success in the 2006 polls.

In 2010, he split up with the Left and resigned as a legislator and soon joined the IUML and won the 2011 polls.

Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party announced a shut down Thursday here to mark the "succumbing" to the IUML and giving them a fifth minister.

The Nair Service Society (NSS), a social organisation of the Hindu Nair community said that the UDF had succumbed to the IUML.

"The communal balance has been tilted through this decision, should the majority community go away from Kerala," asked NSS general secretary Sukumaran Nair.








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