Special Correspondent

KOCHI: The Congress and Government leaders in the State will take up the issue of the alleged neglect of Kerala in the Union Budget with Congress president Sonia Gandhi when she arrives here on Saturday to address the State Congress conference.

KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala told a news conference here on Wednesday that the KPCC leadership would take up `two or three important projects' with Mrs. Gandhi. These projects were: the Kochi metro rail, Vizhinjam harbour and the Kannur airport.

Mr. Chennithala hoped that since the Budget would be adopted only after a few days' discussions in Parliament, there was adequate time to include these projects.

Mr. Chennithala's announcement comes in the wake of the general perception that Kerala was let down by both Railway and general budgets. Since the Assembly election is just two months away, this will hurt the UDF's electoral prospects. They are concerned that the `neglect of Kerala' will be a strong weapon for the LDF. Party sources said the Chief Minister and others would join Mr. Chennithala and other party leaders in petitioning Mrs. Gandhi.

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