Friday, Mar 26, 2004
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By Our Special Correspondent
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, MARCH 25 . The Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) acting president, P.P. Thankachan, today suspended Rajmohan Unnithan and Saratchandra Prasad, KPCC general secretaries, from the Congress on charges of anti-party activities.
The two leaders, who have been on an anti-Muraleedharan campaign, were suspended pending inquiry by the PCC disciplinary action committee. Even though the suspension order was handed out to Mr. Unnithan and Mr. Prasad in the name of indiscipline, the PCC leadership, dominated by the Karunakaran group, decisively moved against the two once-ardent, front line factional supporters for their hard-hitting statements against the former KPCC president and Electricity Minister, K. Muraleedharan, a candidate from the Wadakkancherry Assembly constituency.
But the PCC leadership's hope of ending a running controversy through the disciplinary action was dashed when Mr. Prasad immediately launched a fast-unto-death protest in the portico of Indira Bhavan, the KPCC headquarters. It was in protest against, what he termed, the discriminatory rules on party discipline - one for Mr. Muraleedharan and one for ordinary party workers. Mr. Prasad got a pleasant surprise when the Finance Minister, K. Sankaranarayanan, and the former KPCC president, Thennala Balakrishna Pillai, visited him and spent an hour with him. Mr. Thankachan, in his suspension order, said that the two general secretaries had violated party discipline and decisions by repeatedly coming out with baseless allegations against the Congress leader, K. Karunakaran, Mr. Muraleedharan and the KPCC executive member, Padmaja Venugopal.
Their public statements were intended to tarnish the image of Mr. Muraleedharan, who is the Congress candidate from Wadakkancherry, he said. Mr. Prasad alleged that the PCC president had buckled under Mr. Muraleedharan's pressure.
"This cannot be viewed as a decision of the Congress party, but that of the Murali group," he said.
Mr. Unnithan said that he would not join Mr. Prasad's protest, as he did not believe such an action would get him justice from a PCC dominated by Mr. Muraleedharan's men.
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