9 Oct 2003

Labasa branch of Fiji farmers union distances itself from Mahendra Chaudhry

11:25 am on 9 October 2003

A rift in Fiji's Mahendra Chaudhry-led National Farmers Union is widening.

Mr Chaudhry is general secretary of the union which is widely regarded as his rural power base.

The Fiji Times reports that the union's Labasa Branch members are moving their office to another location, away from the Fiji Labour Party premises.

The newspaper quotes the suspended branch president, Dewan Chand, as saying they are relocating so that Labour Party MPs and supporters would not abuse union facilities.

Mr Chand and seven other executives of the Labasa branch have been summoned to appear before a disciplinary meeting in Ba on October 18.

They had called for the removal of Mr Chaudhry as general secretary, saying he was abusing union funds and facilities to promote the agenda of the Labour Party.

One of the seven has been quoted as saying they would not attend any meeting in Ba because Mr Chaudhry should solve the problems in Labasa.