The Kerala Congress(M) will demand a berth in the Union Cabinet when the next reshuffle of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Ministry takes place.

Speaking to mediapersons after a meeting of the party’s State committee here on Tuesday, Kerala Congress(M) chairman and Finance Minister K.M. Mani said his party had a rightful claim for a berth in the Union Cabinet. Mr. Mani said he had held talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chief Minister Oommen Chandy in this regard. The party intends to demand two or three seats in the coming Lok Sabha elections and it will be made at the right time, he said.

Referring to the recent criticism of certain community organisations by certain quarters, Mr. Mani said it was condemnable to insult leaders of such organisations who were respected by society. Various controversies have taken the shine off the achievements of the United Democratic Front government. It is very important that all concerned should strive to strengthen the coalition.

Mr. Mani said the Central and the State governments should intervene to address the issue of fall in prices of farm produce. The Central government had assured the government and MPs from the State that it would hike the import duty on rubber to help rubber farmers. However, the government is yet to fulfil its promise, he said. He aired his party’s opposition to the implementation of the Madhav Gadgil and the K. Kasturirangan reports on the Western Ghats.

The meeting was attended by Water Resources Minister P.J. Joseph, Jose K. Mani, MP, K.C. Joseph, Joseph M. Puthussery, Roshy Augustine, T.U. Kuruvilla, and Thomas Chazhikadan.

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