UPA coordination panel holds first meeting
New Delhi, Aug 8 (IANS) The newly set-up coordination committee of the UPA held its first meeting here Wednesday and discussed the drought situation in some states. Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee was not present in the meeting.
Sources said the meeting discussed the issue of better coordination among the UPA allies in the monsoon session of parliament and fuel subsidy.
They said Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar flagged the issue of drought in some states and talked about the government's response to the situation.
The sources said that UPA coordination committee may regularly meet on the last Friday of every month.
The committee meeting is aimed at discussing "policy and other issues" among the constituents of the UPA government.
The committee is headed by Congress president Sonia Gandhi and includes Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Defence Minister A.K. Antony, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde.
Besides Pawar, Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Ajit Singh, Indian Union Muslim League leader E. Ahamed, and National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah are other members.
Trinamool Congress sources said party chief Banerjee had been invited for the meeting but she could not come due to preoccupation.
They said that Congress leaders were told in advance about Banerjee's inability to attend the meeting. She may attend the next meeting.
"There is no question of boycott," a party leader said.
The decision to form the committee was taken last month after Pawar and his party's minister Praful Patel threatened to pull out of the UPA government after expressing unhappiness over "some aspects of working" of the coalition government.
The NCP's grouse was that it was "not consulted" on key policy decisions and political appointments.
The party sought a revamp of the coordination mechanism also in Maharashtra where it shares power with the Congress.
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