The UDF kicked off its Lok Sabha election campaign in the State by formally holding a district convention at the Town Hall here on Saturday.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy inaugurated the convention in which senior leaders of the Congress and the IUML participated. The convention comes in the backdrop of the coalition partners such as IUML and Kerala Congress (M) demanding additional seats and the Socialist Janata (Democratic) seeking to contest either from Vadakara or Wayanad constituency.

Mr. Chandy said that the UDF had no apprehension about the K. Kasturirangan panel report on the Western Ghats and that the government would take a decision on the recommendations only with the cooperation of the people.

The forest cover in the State was over 28 per cent while the national average was 19 per cent. This revealed that the State had shown highest priority for environmental conservation. The State should be given the opportunity to decide on its environmental protection with the participation of the people. The government would ask the Centre to consider this aspect, the Chief Minister said.

Mr. Chandy said that the Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan wanted to implement the Madhav Gadgil Committee report while the CPI(M) State secretary Pinarayi Vijayan felt that the Kasturirangan committee report was better than Gadgil Committee report.

A party that had different opinions on a topic conducted a hartal in the State for the third time, he said. The CPI (M) conducted the Kerala Raksha March in a bid to secure some coalition partners from the UDF.

Even today many partners in the LDF were willing to come to the UDF.

The partners of the CPI (M) were disgusted with its street protests, Mr. Chandy said.

Now the CPI (M) complained about the government handing over the conspiracy angle in T.P.Chandrasekharan murder case to the Central Bureau of Investigation. The government ordered a CBI probed based on the letter of Mr. Achuthanandan, complaint of K.K. Rema, widow of Chandrasekharan, report of the special police team and the verdict of the trial court.

KPCC president V.M. Sudheeran said the anti-Congress attitude of the CPI (M) always helped the communal forces in the State.

Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala welcomed the demand of Mr. Achuthanandan to CPI (M) general secretary Prakash Karat to allow a discussion in the party on the Chandrasekharan murder case. UDF district chairman P. Sankaran presided over the meeting. UDF convener P.P.Thankachan, Union Minister of State for Home Mullappally Ramachandran, Union Minister of State for External Affairs E. Ahamed, Industries Minister P.K. Kunhalikutty, Social Welfare Minister M.K. Muneer, M.K. Raghavan, MP, M.I.Shanavas, MP, SJD leader M.P. Veerendrakumar, Kerala Congress (B) chairman R. Balakrishna Pillai, Kerala Congress (M) leader Joseph M. Puthussery, MLA, and CMP leader C.P. John among others participated in the meet.

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