Union’s all-India meet begins in Kollam

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy inaugurated the 286th all-India working committee meeting of the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) here on Monday with a call to the INTUC to “once more work for the victory of the Congress and the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) in the coming Lok Sabha election.”

He said India would be able to maintain its secular and democratic traditions only if the UPA came to power. The INTUC meet should discuss a strategy to ensure the victory of the Congress in the coming Lok Sabha election, he said.

Mr. Chandy recalled that the INTUC had always stood by the Congress to strengthen the democratic and secular traditions of the country. That bond should be further strengthened since these traditions were at stake in the coming Lok Sabha election.

Delivering the keynote address at the function, KPCC president V.M. Sudheeran said the Lok Sabha election was very crucial since communal and fascist forces were trying to emerge on the national political scene by misleading the public. “It is the duty of all democratic and secular forces to join hands and defeat such forces.”

Mr. Sudheeran said though the Left parties claimed to fight communal forces, they were supporting them. The third alternative mooted by the Left parties would only support the communal forces. The influence of the Left parties was waning. They still relied on obsolete ideas.

Mr. Sudheeran said the use of liquor and other narcotic substances was on the rise among the working class. He asked the INTUC to launch a campaign aaints liquor.

Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala said the Congress was not only a political party but also a culture widely accepted by the people. The function was presided over by the all-India president of the INTUC, G. Sanjeeva Reddy. The State president of the INTUC, R. Chandrashekaran, welcomed the gathering. The meet will end on Tuesday.

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