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UDF loss a big tragedy: KC(B)

By Our Special Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, MAY 15. The Kerala Congress(B) leader and Transport Minister, R. Balakrishna Pillai, has said that there is neither good relationship nor a sense of collective responsibility among the members of the Antony Cabinet.

At a `Meet-the-Press' programme organised by the Thiruvananthapuram Press Club here today, he said he would not hold anyone in particular responsible for the defeat in the polls. The Chief Minister and his Cabinet colleagues were equally responsible for the defeat, he said.

Mr. Pillai termed the rout suffered by the UDF in the Lok Sabha elections as a big `tragedy', especially because a secular Government headed by the Congress was going to assume power at the Centre. "It was virtually a mass upsurge in favour of the LDF," he said.

Mr. Pillai said there was still time for the UDF Government to retrieve lost ground. "The party workers who had sweated hard to give the UDF a resounding victory in the last Assembly elections should also feel that this is their Government," he said.

They should not be made to feel that their role was over once they had elevated their leaders to positions of power. "I am not suggesting that the control of the police stations should be left to them... I too have played a role in the efforts to restore unity in the Congress. Unfortunately, it did not work," he said.

He said the BJP could in no way take credit for the victory of P.C. Thomas from the Muvattupuzha constituency. It was true that Mr. Thomas' party, the IFDP, was in the BJP-led coalition. But, he was being perceived by the voters of the constituency, which he had represented since 1989, as a representative of the Kerala Congress. He was voted to victory by the traditional Kerala Congress voters and not BJP sympathisers.

His win was a message to all the Kerala Congress factions. "What it underlines is the need for a reunification of all the Kerala Congress factions," he said.

He refuted the allegation that he had worked against the Congress candidate in the Adoor constituency, Kodikunnil Suresh, in these elections.

"Yes, I did not work for him this time. But, none can say I worked against him... We had informed the Congress and even Ms. Sonia Gandhi two-and-a-half years in advance that he is not acceptable to us as a candidate in Adoor. In a coalition set-up, it is only proper that the views of all parties are taken into consideration while fielding a candidate for an election," he said.

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