Just as the budget session got under way, the Congress leadership has decided to convene a meeting of the UPA coordination committee on Saturday to streamline the collective coalition stand in Parliament, especially on some contentious issues like the Afzal Guru hanging.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will hear out alliance partners at the meeting, a mechanism which was set up last year in the backdrop of the lament by NCP which had then held that allies were not being consulted on important issues. The NCP had even threatened to pull out of the government after expressing unhappiness over the “working” of the coalition government.
This time, the National Conference has displayed uneasiness over the Afzal Guru hanging. At an all-party meeting convened by Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar Wednesday, NC representative Sharifuddin Shariq said his party disapproved of the manner in which Afzal was executed without allowing his family members to meet him before he was hanged. The latest controversy over the AgustaWestland helicopter deal and the embarrassment it has caused to the UPA government is also likely to figure with alliance partners expected to seek clarity from the Congress.
The UPA coordination panel was expected to meet at least once a month though it has not been able to do so, particularly after the TMC pulled out of the UPA.