Thiruvananthapuram - Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has come under fire from Hindu social groups besides his own Congress party ever since he gave a fifth ministership to his second biggest ally, the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML).
On Thursday, M. Ali of the IUML, along with Anup Jacob of Kerala Congress (Jacob), was sworn in to take the strength of the Chandy cabinet to its maximum limit of 21 and include six ministers each from the Muslim and Christian communities.
Hindus constitute more than 50 percent of Kerala's population, followed by Muslims with 24 percent and Christians with 23 percent.
Ever since Chandy assumed office last year, the communal imbalance in his cabinet was a point of discussion as the minority communities dominated. The situation turned for the worse after the IUML was given a fifth ministership.
Chandy was taken aback when his own staunch loyalists, Power Minister Aryadan Mohammed, not only failed to turn up for the swearing in but also boycotted the cabinet meet that followed the swearing in.
Chandy did some juggling to pacify the majority Hindu community by relinquishing the Home Portfolio and giving it to his close loyalist T. Radhakrishnan who was the revenue minister.
Radhakrishnan's request to meet the general secretary of the Nair Service Society (the social group of the Hindu Nair community) at their headquarters in Changnacherry was politely turned down by Sukumaran Nair, the NSS strongman, Thursday.
Velapally Natesan, general secretary of the Hindu Ezhava community also came down heavily on "succumbing to the pressures of the IUML" and said the only way to end "this social injustice" is for re-grouping of all Hindu community from 'adivasis to Nampoothiris'.
State Excise Minister K. Babu Friday told reporters in Kozhikode that it was best if the fifth minister post for IUML had been avoided.
"The detractors of the chief minister, however, did not come out with an alternative to solve this issue. And now since this has been done to keep the unity intact in the coalition, all should accept this," said Babu.
Top IUML leader and Lok Sabha member E.T. Mohammed Basheer said media was seeing everything negatively and what Babu said was the truth because none could find a viable alternative.
Ali, the new IUML minister, told IANS that the best that he can do in this is to see that his performance as a minister is meticulous and one which will do good for the UDF.
Meanwhile, with feathers ruffled, the IUML top executive is meeting in Kozhikode Saturday to take stock of the rumblings in the state.