Tuesday, Apr 22, 2003
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Denying reports of possible estrangement with the LDF, he told reporters here today that there was still scope for the two Kerala Congress factions, though belonging to different political formations, to work together in areas of common interest, like those pertaining to the farming community.
He said the reports on possible merger moves had cropped up periodically and alleged that the timing of the present reports pointed to the UDF rumour mills as the possible source. "They want to divert popular attention from the grave crisis the coalition has been pushed into by the faction fighting following the Rajya Sabha election and might have found the Kerala Congress as an easy target,'' he said.
To a question, Mr. Joseph said he did not believe that elements within the LDF or for that matter within his party as the possible source for the reports.
Mr. Joseph also wanted to put at rest the rumours about a possible estrangement with the LDF and said his party MLAs did not participate in the fast taken up by the Opposition demanding a judicial inquiry into Muthanga incidents `on health reasons'. However, the State leadership of the party had participated in the agitation by joining the protesters for a day-long fast, he said.
To another question, Mr. Joseph said the party had participated in the LDF liaison committee meeting held on April 13 but "did not participate in the April 17 meeting as it fell on Maundy Thursday. We had informed the LDF leadership about this.''
He said the KC(J) chief said he had no reason to believe that the one in the LDF who voted for the UDF rebel belonged to his party. "The LDF is instituting an inquiry and if the involvement of a party representative is proved, we would take stringent action against him,'' Mr. Joseph said.
Referring to the reported statement by the KPCC chief, K. Muraleedharan, on the Congress joining hands with the CPI(M), Mr. Joseph said he agreed with the proposal. "There is nothing new in that,'' he said. Trade unions have already taken up joint struggles. When E. K. Nayanar was the Chief Minister, all political parties in the State, including the Congress and the CPI(M), had joined hands to take up the issue of rise in prices of rice distributed through ration shops,'' he said.
He reiterated the call for a joint fight by all political parties when it comes to the agrarian issues. Mr. Joseph wanted the State Government to take the initiative in putting pressure on the Centre to arrive at an early settlement of the truckers' strike as Kerala was the worst hit in the week-long agitation.
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