UDF leaders meet to sort out internal issues



Thiruvananthapuram: Amid internal discord affecting image of the ruling Congress-led UDF in Kerala, leaders of the combine began a crucial day-long meeting here today to sort out differences that had cropped among partners over a few issues.

The conclave of nine-party coalition is being chaired by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.

The meeting assumes significance as the key partners Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) and Kerala Congress (Mani) voicing resentment over Congress ignoring them in recent cabinet shuffle at the Centre.

The IUML has been hoping that its nominee in the Union Ministry E Ahamed would be elevated to the cabinet rank. The state executive of IUML, held last week, did not mince words when it stated that the party was disappointed that its hopes had been belied.

As a long-time ally of the Congress in state and at the Centre, Kerala Congress (M) has also been demanding a berth in the Union Ministry for quite some time. The party supremo K M Mani's son Jose K Mani is KC(M)'s lone Lok Sabha member.

Of late, some of the Congress leaders have come out openly against the government's policies on issues like land use policy and move to amend the rules pertaining to ecologically fragile lands. They have been mainly targeting departments handled by IUML and Kerala Congress (M) over such issues.

Chandy said yesterday that all vital issues concerning the Front and the government would be discussed threadbare at the UDF meet.

On the controversy regarding the proposed Land Use Bill, Chandy said the hue and cry over that was quite unwarranted as the government had only elicited opinions of different departments.

According to the Chief Minister, the issues in the UDF were not as serious as being projected by section of media and the coalition was confident of solving whatever issues there by taking all partners into confidence.

PTI