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Hectic parleys between UDF partners in Kochi

Staff Reporter



SAVOURING SUCCESS: United Democratic Front leaders Ramesh Chennithala, Oommen Chandy, andP.K. Kunhalikutty greet one another at a function in Kochi on Saturday. Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Mullappally Ramachandran is seen.

KOCHI: A day after the United Democratic Front managed a simple majority to form the government, the city witnessed hectic parleys between the front's partners on Saturday.

A wedding function, which was attended by most UDF leaders, formed the backdrop for the informal discussions.

Congress leader Oommen Chandy and Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Ramesh Chennithala remain closeted at the Ernakulam guest house in the morning, immediately after which Mr. Chennithala addressed a press meet.

Kerala Congress (M) chairman K.M. Mani and the Indian Union Muslim League leaders P.K. Kunhalikutty and E. Ahamed also discussed the state of affairs in the aftermath of the election.

After the meeting, Mr. Mani said that the people's mandate in this election was not in favour of any party in the UDF and hence it was important to work with unprecedented unity. He said that his party was ready to contribute towards such unity.

Mr. Mani felt that the front could have secured more seats had there been better understanding among the alliance partners. He said that formation of government at the earliest was imperative in the prevailing circumstances and cited that as the reason for the meetings between the partners. Mr. Kunhalikutty also emphasised on the need for unity while stating that as the dominant partner it was for the Congress to initiate steps for the formation of the government.

‘IUML not to bargain'

Special Correspondent adds from Kozhikode: E. Ahamed, all-India president of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), said on Saturday that his party would function as a stabilising force in the United Democratic Front (UDF) and desist from any action that would jeopardise the coalition.

Mr. Ahamed said League would not use its standing as the second biggest party in the coalition for political bargaining, thereby exploiting the thin majority of the UDF.

Speaking to The Hindu, Mr. Ahamed, who is also the Union Minister of State for External Affairs, expressed deep satisfaction at the impressive show of his party in Assembly polls. He was happy the voters had given a massive mandate to the IUML and helped it win 20 seats, the highest in its history, in spite of “smear campaigns” by LDF leaders including Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan and attempts by various Muslim organisations to lure away League's supporters with “communal and radical slogans”.He added that League would adhere to its traditional secular and progressive ideals.

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