Union Minster challenges Left to withdraw support from UPA

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Agartala, Feb 15(UNI) Union Minister for Heavy Industries Santosh Mohan Dev has said the Congress will remove the Left from the coalition at the Centre if it threatened the UPA 'too much'.

Challenging the Left Front to withdraw support from the UPA he said, ''If the Left Front does too much(threatening), the Congress itself will remove them from the coalition.'' He was addressing a meeting here last night.

''If they want to quit the UPA at the Centre, they can,'' he said, adding the Leftists had no option but to go with the Congress.

Mr Dev arrived here yesterday to boost the Congress's electioneering for the February 23 Assembly polls in Tripura.

Mr Dev, who is in-charge of the party's campaign here, will be in the state till February 21, the last date of canvassing.

He claimed that for the sake of the common minimum programme, his ministry was compelled to revive 20 sick industries in the country out of 80, ''but those are not in a condition to be restarted''.

Admitting that workers in the industries were aligned to Left parties, he, however, wondered if the Congress was not in power at the Centre how will the sick industries survive.

Slamming CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat and his wife and politbureau member Brinda Karat, Mr. Dev said, ''they have not the capability to bring a rickshaw, how can they claim credit for the upcoming train service upto the state capital? ''I requested the Prime Minister to announce it a national project,'' he added, referring to the railway project, started during the Left-supported Devegowda government, which is yet to reach Agartala.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Karat is also in the state campaigning for left candidates.

The Union Minister attended at least four meetings in west district till this morning.

UNI XC PL DB1732

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