Allies meet Sonia, suggest Chennithala be made a minister

Allies suggest Chennithala name to Sonia
Thiruvananthapuram, Sept 30: The now-on and now-off talk of accommodating KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala in the UDF ministry in Kerala has once again gained currency with key partners putting across this as an option to strengthen the Front ahead of Lok Sabha polls during their meeting with Congress President Sonia Gandhi.

During their interaction with Gandhi separately on Sunday night, leaders of Indian Union Muslim League and Kerala Congress (Mani) focused on the need to refurbish the UDF's image dented by issues like the solar scam and virulent campaign unleashed by CPI(M)-led LDF against the Oommen Chandy government.

Most of the Congress leaders sounded sceptical about drastic changes being made in the ministry and party set-up before Parliament elections, but they respected the allies' sentiments for strengthening unity and improving the image of the coalition.

According to UDF sources, the partners told Gandhi that despite its image crisis, the UDF was still strong enough to make handsome gains if they fought the polls unitedly by sorting out internal differences.

In 2009, the UDF lifted 15 of the 20 seats in the state, leaving five to the LDF and the BJP drew a blank. They said it was crucial that as lead partner, Congress bridge its internal divide between factions loyal to Chandy and Chennithala and possible way out is inducting the KPCC president in the Cabinet with an important portfolio.


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