LDF asks KC(J) to name its Minister by Oct 12

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Thiruvananthapuram, Oct 8 (UNI) The ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) today asked its constituent, the Kerala Congress (Joseph), to name by October 12 its Ministerial nominee as the post has been lying vacant since September when Mr T U Kuruvila resigned in the wake of a controversy over illegal land deals.

''They have been asked to name their Minister by Friday. We hope that the party will fill the vacancy within the period,'' LDF Convenor Vaikom Vishwam told reporters after the Front meeting.

Asked if KC(J) Chairman P J Joseph, who had earlier resigned from the Cabinet over an allegation of misbehaviour with a woman on board a flight, had sought more time, he said the ministerial berth could not be left vacant like this.

Meanwhile, there were speculations that Mr Joseph had sought time for clearing his name in the controversy to be re-inducted in the Cabinet. Mr Joseph had even met Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan in this regard.

Asked if the Government would go ahead with the already decided judicial inquiry into the issue, Mr Vishwam said it could not be decided at this stage. The Chennai police was investigating the case and the petitioner had expressed displeasure over the investigation.

On the Institute of Space Science and Technology, which was in the limelight over a controversy regarding the sale of Merchiston Estate in Ponmudi to the Indian Space Research Organisation to locate the Institute, he said no one was against the Institute coming to Kerala. ''But the State's interests should also be protected. The Government is trying to locate some lands for the Institute. The Government should provide the land ISRO chooses in Ponmudi.'' UNI PN GD RL BD1735

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