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At UPA meet, allies complain about rail budget, Lanka issue

February 26, 2013 22:49 IST

Nationalist Congress Party on Tuesday expressed grave disappointment over the railway budget with its chief Sharad Pawar telling a meeting of the United Progressive Alliance coordination committee that Mumbai has been neglected, which is "not acceptable".

The three-hour meeting also saw another ally Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam criticising the government for not taking a tough stand against Sri Lanka on the issue of ethnic Tamils, sources said.

Hours after the railway budget was presented in the Lok Sabha, Pawar said the government has "totally neglected" the problems faced by 80 lakh commuters in Mumbai, the sources said.

NCP told the meeting convened by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and attended by Congress President Sonia Gandhi among others that the "neglect is not acceptable". Gandhi is also the UPA chairperson.

DMK's T R Balu expressed unhappines over the government not taking a tough stand on the Sri Lankan Tamil issue.

The meeting also saw another UPA partner Rashtriya Lok Dal raising the issue of division of Uttar Pradesh, prompting Pawar to pitch for a separate Telangana.

The alliance leaders told the UPA leadership that the alliance had made certain commitment on the Telangana issue in the President's address soon after it came to power in 2004 and that needed to be fulfilled.

Ajit Singh, a strong votary of carving out Harit Pradesh from Western part of Uttar Pradesh, said Uttar Pradesh has become an "unmanageable" state.

Sources said the UPA leadership assured the leaders of having further consultations on various issues. This was the first meeting of the UPA coordination committee this year and was held after the start of the three-month budget session of Parliament commenced.

The DMK had already said that it would raise the issue of Sri Lankan Tamils and farmers suicides in Tamil Nadu at the UPA coordination committee meeting. The meeting was the first formal interaction between the Congress and its allies after the AgustaWestland helicopter scam broke out.

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