Rs 1/kg rice from Onam in Kerala, says CM Oommen Chandy

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The Congress-led UDF government will implement its election promise to distribute rice at Rs 1 per kg to all below poverty line families from Onam.

This was decided at the first meeting of the expanded cabinet led by Mr. Oommen Chandy here on Monday.

The cabinet also decided to provide Rs 3 lakh to the family of Killiroor sex scandal victim Sari S Nair. The cabinet recommended to the governor to convene the first session of the new Assembly on June 1 and 2.

Congress not to give in to League demand

The Congress leadership is in no mood to concede the Indian Union Muslim League's demand for a fifth cabinet berth.

The claim for the additional berth, unilaterally announced by the IUML supremo, Mr Hyder Ali Shihab Thangal, on Sunday, raised eyebrows among UDF allies since the three posts- speaker, deputy speaker and parliamentary affairs- were reserved for further discussions.

It's learnt that the issue would be sorted out at the next meeting of the ruling United Democratic Front, scheduled for May 30. The Chief Minister, Mr Oommen Chandy, smarting under the League's embarrassing public announcement of an extra minister, told reporters here on Monday that all questions regarding it should be addressed to those who went public on it.

He wouldn't say whether the Cabinet strength would be 20 or 21. The three posts would be discussed and resolved, he said in reply to queries about the propriety of the League announcement.

Surprisingly, even members of the League working committee, which met here in the morning before the swearing-in, criticised the party for publicly staking claim to the berth without trying to resolve it at the UDF meeting.

There was also criticism that the leadership had committed a tactical blunder by not insisting on five portfolios at the very beginning.

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