Tuesday, May 07, 2002
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Addressing a press conference here, Mr Pillai said this trend was unhealthy. ``Who has launched attacks on the Cooperation Minister, M V Raghavan, the Water Resources Minister, T M Jacob, the Revenue Minister, K M Mani and even the IUML supremo, Panakkad Mohammedali Shihab Thangal? Those who wanted problems in the UDF to be discussed in the HPC were now indulging in public debates. Only the Chief Minister, A K Antony, or the UDF convener, Oommen Chandy, can speak for the UDF. If the coalition partners start expressing opinions about the functioning of the Congress Ministers, the situation could worsen,'' he said rejecting the view that he and his party were not helpful in maintaining the unity of the coalition.
He said that the current row was over two major issues-- the decision of the KSRTC to hire private coaches to run schedules and the KC(B) stand on the trade union referendum in the KSRTC slated to be held on May 23. He was not sure about the political reasons behind the hue and cry over the KSRTC's decision to hire private coaches.
He said that the Transport Minister, K. B. Ganesh Kumar, had been called to attend the previous UDF meeting to discuss matters relating to the KSRTC, but the question of hiring private coaches was not discussed at all.
Mr Pillai made it clear that his supporters in the KSRTC would not vote for the UDF union led by the INTUC because of differences regarding the inclusion of the Drivers Union in the alliance. ``The Drivers Union was once controlled by me, But now it is not,'' he said. In reply to a question, he said there was nothing wrong in his men voting for the CITU in the referendum, as he believed that there was no politics in trade union issues and the CITU was not untouchable.
Pillar defends Mani: Mr Pillar strongly defended the Revenue Minister, K M Mani, on the Mathikettan issue. He said that there was no disputing the fact that encroachments had taken place in Mathikettan. But it was unfair to isolate Mr Mani alone on this score as the land grab took places years ago.
Mr Pillai was of the view that all the encroachers in Mathikettan should be evicted and a probe by a Central agency should be conducted into the encroachment.
In reply to a question, Mr Pillai said that the party nominated Mr Ganesh Kumar as Minister following tremendous pressures from various quarters, both ``seen and unseen'' inside and outside the UDF. He disclosed that the UDF had decided that all party leaders should be sworn in as Ministers. But in his case, the decision was changed in the last minute.
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