Debating India

KERALA

Congress hardens stand on DIC(K)

Thursday 23 March 2006

Special Correspondent

No room for two Congress parties; no plan to expand UDF: Veerappa Moily

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Congress hardened its stand on the UDF’s alliance with the Democratic Indira Congress (Karunakaran) making an issue of the hard speeches of the leaders of that party recently in Kochi. A final decision on an electoral arrangement with the DIC(K) now hinges on the positions that the UDF partners, including the Indian Union Muslim League, the official mediator, are likely to adopt in view of the Congress leadership’s unrelenting position.

Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president Ramesh Chennithala said that the speeches of the DIC(K) leaders in Kochi were provocative and had hurt the feelings of the Congress. The hardening stand was quite evident early in the day when the Congress Working Committee member Veerappa Moily said on arrival that there was no proposal to expand the UDF and that there was no political room for two Congress parties. Mr. Moily, contrary to expectations, did not call on Mr. Karunakaran, and it was left to KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala to make it clear in Mr. Moily’s presence that the former did not propose to meet any one "now." The Chief Minister’s post-Cabinet statement that there was no question of any electoral understanding or alliance was his most hard hitting in recent days.

By evening, the situation appeared to be going from bad to worse, prompting Mr. Moily, when he met presspersons, to remark that much water had flowed down the bridge since his last visit.

The doors on electoral adjustments appeared to be partially open as indicated by IUML leaders P. K. Kunahlikutty and E. T. Mohammed Basheer’s hurried visit to Mr. Karunakaran’s residence. Mr. Kunhalikutty said that he was making one last attempt to hold the bridge from falling apart. Another indication that the talks would resume was that both the

DIC(K) and the UDF deferred announcing the list of candidates for the elections contrary to what the party leaders had promised on Tuesday.

The DIC(K) leaders said they had deferred an announcement by a day and appeared to be looking forward to further talks with Mr. Moily. But their hopes were belied by the tough stand that emerged after the UDF meeting held in the evening. Coalition convener P. P. Thankachan said that the UDF meeting did not discuss the DIC(K) issue. The meeting had deferred an announcement of the seat allotment because a few issues related to the Kerala congress (M) and the CMP needed to be sorted out. The Congress Election Committee also went into session late in the evening.

See online : The Hindu

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