KERALA

Allies would accept Congress claim on seats: Thankachan

ALAPPUZHA, FEB. 26. The KPCC acting president, P.P. Thankachan, has expressed the hope that the UDF partners would accede to the demand of the Congress to allot 17 Lok Sabha seats for the party in the State in the coming elections.

At a meet-the-press programme here today, Mr. Thankachan said he had almost succeeded in making the UDF partners realise the need for maintaining status quo on allotting the Lok Sabha seats, considering the present national scenario. The UDF constituents had agreed to convey their opinion on the issue before February 28, he said.

Mr. Thankachan said discussions on the candidates list of the Congress in the State would begin tomorrow. According to him, the list would be finalised by March 2.

Mr. Thankachan allayed the apprehension that the delay in fixing candidates would affect the winning chances of the UDF candidates. The delay was a usual phenomenon as far as the UDF was concerned, he said.

On a question on the pressure being exerted by various communal organisations on the Government, Mr. Thankachan said he was against exerting excessive pressure on the Government by communal organisations. But communal equilibrium should be maintained in all matters, he said.

The Congress leader said the NDA Government had neglected the demands of the State and the interim Union Budget was an example of it.

Regarding the situation in the Congress, Mr. Thankachan said the situation had changed and many demands of the `I' group had been accepted.

The DCC president, C.R. Jayaprakash, was also present at the press meet.

Chennithala's demand

Meanwhile, the AICC secretary and Congress Working Committee member, Ramesh Chennithala, has said the CPI(M) should make its stand clear on the recent statement of the party politburo member, V.S. Achuthanandan, that a third front excluding the Congress and the BJP should be formed at the national level.

At a meet-the-press programme here today, Mr. Chennithala said the CPI(M) should make it clear as to who was the enemy number one of the party at the national level. Some of the opinions expressed by the CPI(M) leaders would result in the weakening of the secular front forged under the Congress leadership. The CPI(M) was preaching secularism without practising it, he said.

"In the Alappuzha Assembly constituency the CPI(M) is trying to incite communal feelings," he alleged. The LDF was following double standards in the State on several issues and, as a result, the CPI(M) would face reverses in the coming parliamentary elections, he said. Mr. Chennithala criticised the BJP for spending crores of rupees for the election campaign. While the BJP was trying to create a pro-NDA mood among the public through its campaign blitzkrieg, the Congress was gaining acceptance among various sections, he said.