The IUML has reiterated its stand that the Congress high command should do whatever needed to ensure the unity of the UDF government .

A meeting of the IUML State leadership at Tirur, near here, on Friday made the party’s stand clear after discussing the developments within the Congress.

The party observed that whether KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala joining the Cabinet or not would be an intra-party affair of the Congress. IUML State president Syed Hyderali Shihab Thangal presided.

No talks

Briefing newspersons about the meeting at Kottakkal in the evening, IUML Legislature Party leader P.K. Kunhalikutty, State general secretary K.P.A. Majeed, and national secretary E.T. Mohammed Basheer, MP, said the Congress high command had not held any discussions with the IUML on the issues within the UDF or the possible solutions. They said their party had not been invited for any talks by the Congress high command. So there was no question of raising any claim for a Deputy Chief Minister post.

They denied that the IUML had made a demand for the post in the event of Mr. Chennithala’s entry into the Cabinet. However, the IUML leaders made it clear that the issues being faced by the UDF constituents, including the Muslim League, should be resolved as early as possible.

“If it is possible only by some drastic measures by the Congress high command, all such measures should be taken,” said Mr. Majeed.

KC(M) unhappy

Special Correspondent writes from Kottayam: Kerala Congress (M) leader K.M. Mani has convened an emergency meeting of the high power committee of the party here on Saturday.

The party members are dismayed by the Congress leadership’s failure to find a lasting solution to the internal squabble in the Congress. They are unhappy over allegations raised by the ‘I’ faction that coalition partners were trying make a killing at the expense of the Congress. “They have not resolved their problems and are now trying to indulge in groupism at the expense of coalition partners,” said Joy Abraham, MP and senior general secretary of the party.

The party leadership believes that factionalism in the Congress had reached such a stage that the coalition allies would have to save the Front in the ensuing Parliament elections. “They will have to mend it, or end it,” said Mr. Abraham. .

Even as the party expressed its apprehension over Congress factionalism, it remains a fact that it had viewed the stand-off in the Congress as an opportunity to upgrade its status within the coalition.

The party had two demands — one, a berth in the Union Cabinet, thus bringing it on a par with the IUML (which has the same number of MPs) and an additional seat for the party in the coming Parliament elections.

With the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee chief making a tactical retreat from his demands the KC(M) has once again found itself on the defensive.

The decision of the more hawkish elements in the Congress to harden their stand would put Mr. Mani in a spot. Failure to get a berth in the Union Cabinet would be a loss to the party, while the loss of opportunity to demand a second seat has put the party in trouble as the organisation was still suffering from internal strife from the former P J Joseph group.

The KC(M) leadership is also anguished at the fact that the liberal stance taken by the Chief Minister on Thursday, did not have the approval of the high command.

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