KERALA

'High command failed in solving crisis'

PATHANAMTHITTA Nov. 1. The Transport Minister and the Kerala Congress(B) leader, R. Balakrishna Pillai, has said that the UDF can easily win the ensuing Assembly by-elections in Thiruvalla, if the ruling coalition can maintain its unity and the issues within the Congress are sorted out before November 30.

Mr. Pillai was talking to media persons at Thiruvalla this afternoon.

Mr. Pillai said that the internal squabbles in the Congress were purely that party's affairs and the other UDF partners had nothing to do with it. He said the problems in the Congress had never affected the functioning of his Ministry.

Mr. Pillai said that the Kerala Congress factions led by himself and that of the Water Resources Minister, T.M. Jacob, were working in tandem and they would take a political decision on a Congress sans its senior leader, K. Karunakaran, in the event of such a situation.

He said the UDF partners were keen to ensure the unity of the UDF adding that the Congress high command had failed in settling the problems within the State unit of the party.

Mr. Pillai said that he had briefed the Congress leadership about the issues facing the Congress in the State and its effects on the ruling coalition two years ago. But the Congress high command had failed to set things right, leading to the present chaos, he alleged. He said that the coalition partners had little role in the selection of the leader of the Congress Legislature Party and they would accept the decision of the high command on the reported demand for a leadership change.

He said that Mr. Karunakaran was shifted from the Chief Minister's post 1995 on the basis of some ``baseless charges''. It was not the coalition partners who had demanded the shifting of Mr. Karunakaran, but they had only accepted the Congress high command's decision for a leadership change at that time, he added.

On the demand for withdrawal of 20 per cent special fare for Sabarimala-bound KSRTC buses during the annual pilgrim season, the Minister said that certain vested interests were behind such a demand.

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