'Fifth ministerial post to IUML a closed chapter'



Thiruvananthapuram: Seeking to put the lid on the controversy in the ruling UDF government arising over the allotment of a fifth ministerial post to constituent Indian Union Muslim League, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy Wednesday said the issue is now a "closed chapter."

"The demand of IUML is not a new one. The party had held four ministerial posts and that of Government Chief Whip in 1994 itself," he told reporters during his cabinet briefing.

Chandy said when IUML demanded a fifth ministerial post, they were offered the post of deputy speaker or government chief whip. But there was some "dispute" over the issue and finally they were alloted another cabinet berth without any new portfolios.

"The issue is now a closed chapter," he said.

IUML's Manjalamkuzhi Ali has been allotted Urban Affairs and two other departments held earlier by IUML Ministers.

To a question on reported discontent in Congress over the issue, he said everything would be sorted out through discussions.

Chandy said it was for the people to judge if the row has hit the image of the 11-month-old UDF government, which was committed to the welfare of the people.

He expressed confidence that UDF would again register a win in the coming bypoll in Neyyatinkara assembly segment as in Piravom last month.

"No doubt the Neyyatinkara by-poll also will be a referendum on the performance of the government," he said in response to a question.

The Front has extended support to the candidature of R Selvaraj, a former CPI-M MLA from Neyyatinkara who has resigned the assembly membership.

PTI