Allies seek better coordination in UPA-II

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New Delhi, Jan 16 (PTI) At a time when the rulingcoalition is passing through a turbulent phase, demands for abetter coordination in the UPA-II are being raised by theallies of the Congress.

The NCP, whose chief and Agriculture Minister SharadPawar has come under criticism from within a section ofCongress, is among those seeking formation of a CoordinationCommittee.

Pawar hit back at his detractors yesterday saying thatit was "not right" to blame his ministry for price rise andthat it was a collective decision making process involving thePrime Minister as well as the Finance Minister.

After a recent remark by Rahul Gandhi on price riseissue which the NCP had taken exception to, Congress had takenmore than 24 hours to clarify and that also after NCP GeneralSecretary D P Tripathi trained his guns on the Congressleader.

Making a strong case for a UPA-II CoordinationCommittee, Tripathi claims that the coalition was a unique onein the contemporary world as it had no such mechanism forcoordination.

"In contemporary democracies in any part of the world,UPA-II is the only coalition where there is neither formal norinformal coordination," says Tripathi.

Sudip Bandhopadhyay of the Trinamool Congress, whoseparty is the second largest constituent of the UPA-II, putsthe situation differently.

"We are firmly behind UPA II. We are totally for it tohave a better coordination," he says.

Bandhoyadhyay feels that there should be at least onemeeting of the constituent parties of the UPA II every threemonths to exchange ideas and views as it would "strengthen"the coalition.

To drive home his point, he recalls that FinanceMinister Pranab Mukherjee, who is the leader of the Lok Sabha,had held two meetings of the UPA II constituents on the issueof JPC into the 2G spectrum allocation scam.

"I think without UPA-II Coordination Committeefunctioning regularly, there cannot be proper coordination inthe alliance.

"In order to fight anti-coalition forces, such acommittee is essential," Tripathi says.

However, Congress, which is leading the UPA-II, has adifferent view.

"Obviously, when there is no need for a Common MinimumProgramme, there cannot be a need for a Coordination Committeeto monitor a non-existent CMP," party spokesperson AbhishekSinghvi says.

Singhvi insists that coordination is done informallyat "several levels on a 24X7 basis.

"Merely because 24x7 media also tends to blow upevents within a day does not mean absence of coordination," heremarks.

Incidently, at the Congress plenary here last month,Sonia Gandhi had herself noted that complaints have beenreceived about lack of coordination between the party and thegovernment in many states.

Gandhi had said, "In states, where we are in power,the AICC will set up a coordination committee to ensureregular and close interaction between the government and theparty organisations."

She had said similar committees will also beestablished in Opposition-ruled states to bring about greatercohesion between the CLP and the party organisation.

Gandhi had, however, not dealt with the issue ofcoordination in the UPA-II.

A section in the Congress also favours greaterinteraction especially in the present times when the coalitionis passing through turbulence.

A party leader, who declined to be identified, feltthat it could be the strategy of the leadership not not to gofor formal coordination mechanism for greater manouveribility.

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