Congress allies urge Sonia to settle issues in Kerala

Kottayam (Kerala) Dec 30 (IANS) The allies of the Congress in the ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) on Wednesday held discussions with Congress president Sonia Gandhi here.

During the meeting, coming ahead of the Kerala assembly polls scheduled for next year, the UDF members prevailed upon Gandhi to ensure that whatever factional issues that exist in the party here are settled at the earliest.

Among the senior leaders who called on her at the Government Guest House here were former state finance minister K.M. Mani (Kerala Congress-Mani), P.K. Kunhalikutty (Indian Union Muslim League), M.P. Veerendra Kumar (Janata Dal-United), N.K. Premachandran MP (RSP), and Anup Jacob (Kerala Congress-Jacob).

Over the years, factionalism has bothered the Congress party in the state, and for one whole decade the feud between the majority faction led by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and state Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala has at times caused embarrassment to the coalition.

“In the Congress party, all the issues are addressed by the party high command and we have asked her to see whatever issues are there should be resolved,” said state Industries Minister Kunhalikutty to reporters after he and his party leaders met Gandhi.

Mani told reporters they asked her to see with the assembly polls coming up soon, there should be a fair attitude when it comes to seat distribution among the UDF constituents.

“Also we have raised concern about some Congress leaders publicly airing statements that have hurt the minority communities. We do not wish that to happen. She gave us a patient hearing,” said Mani.

Mani recently had to quit as the Kerala cabinet minister following an adverse court remark in the bar scam case, in which he is accused of taking a bribe from bar owners.

Veerendra Kumar said they raised the issues that they have raised at the UDF meetings earlier too.

Gandhi met the allies in the company of Mukul Wasnik, the Congress general secretary in charge of the party affairs in Kerala.

Accompanying Gandhi on her day-long visit is Chandy, and state party president V.M.Sudheeran and Chennithala will be joining the two, before she returns to Delhi from Kochi.

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