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UPA coordination committee first meeting today

August 08, 2012 00:51 IST

Seeking to project a united picture of the ruling alliance, the UPA coordination committee headed by Congress president Sonia Gandhi will hold its first meeting on Wednesday.

The constitution of the coordination committee was announced on Monday to ensure cohesive functioning of the alliance, a demand that was placed by ally Nationalist Congress Party during its recent stand-off with Congress a fortnight back.

Leaders of all the constituent parties are part of this mechanism. Union Ministers Sharad Pawar and Praful Patel will represent the NCP on the panel, while there is still no word on who will represent Trinamool Congress and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam

While Gandhi heads the committee, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Defence Minister A K  Antony, Finance Minister P Chidambaram and Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde are the other members from Congress.

This is for the first time in eight years of the UPA government that a coordination committee of alliance partners has been formed. During UPA-I, there was only a coordination committee between Congress and Left parties.

The formation of the coordination committee came a fortnight after NCP leaders Pawar and Patel threatened to pull out of the government.

Yielding to NCP's demand, Congress had on July 24 agreed to put in place such a coordination mechanism after Pawar and Patel met the Prime Minister and Gandhi and discussed the week-long stand-off when the two leaders had also offered to quit the Cabinet.

A statement issued by the two parties had later said, "This mechanism would ensure that the UPA allies meet at least once a month to discuss policy and other issues".

Among other allies Union Minister Ajit Singh represents his party Rashtriya Lok alD on the panel which also comprises E Ahmed of the Indian Union Muslim League and Farooq Abdullah of the National Conference.

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