Muslim League takes a closer look at solar scam case

Kerala Congress(M) leader and Finance Minister K.M. Mani sounded a discordant note on Monday by raising doubts about the ruling coalition’s chances in the coming Lok Sabha elections.

“The Congress party should be prepared to carry the coalition partners along,” Mr. Mani said in New Delhi soon after his meeting with Congress president Sonia Gandhi. Mr. Mani also met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during the course of the day. This is for the first time that Mr. Mani is expressing an opinion on the state of affairs of the ruling United Democratic Front (UDF). Kerala Congress(M) is the third biggest partner in the ruling coalition. Congress leaders here believe that Mr. Mani’s display of irritation is the outcome of the Prime Minister’s reluctance to induct him as presiding officer of the Goods and Services Tax committee, now working out the modalities of implementing the tax reforms on goods and services.

Mr. Mani, during his meeting with Ms. Gandhi, found every fault with the Congress party, which is now in the throes of the solar scam. Taking full advantage of the weak position that the Congress is finding itself in, Mr. Mani indicated that he would stake his claim to an additional seat in the Lok Sabha elections ‘as and when the time comes.’

“I will be satisfied with the UDF government’s functioning only if it performs well,” he said.

Mr. Mani also appeared to have changed his opinion about the controversial statements of his party colleague and Government Chief Whip, P.C. George. Some of Mr. George’s statements had drawn strong protests from Congress leaders. A few days ago, at a party meeting, Mr. Mani had advised Mr. George to observe restraint while criticising UDF leaders. He defended Mr. George during his chat with mediapersons in New Delhi, stating that some of his observations were beneficial to the ruling front.

IUML initiative

In the meantime, Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) leader and Industries Minister P.K. Kunhalikutty held discussions with Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan on the solar scam.

According to IUML sources, the meeting was held in the context of the IUML leadership’s bid to get a fair political evaluation of the impact of the investigation, given the kind of speculation and rumours doing their rounds about certain aspects of the case. The party leadership has found some of this speculative news disturbing.

The IUML leadership had on an earlier occasion made its concerns about the UDF government’s stability quite evident, but extended its unconditional support to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy. It also did not agree to the idea of convening the UDF committee until the Congress settles its issues and wanted the Congress high command’s intervention to settle issues in the party.

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