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Karunakaran takes up Murali’s cause again

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K. Karunakaran
K. Karunakaran

Girish Menon

Thiruvananthapuram: Veteran Congress leader K. Karunakaran has decided to continue knocking on the doors of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) seeking entry for his son K. Muraleedharan into the Congress, despite being cold-shouldered by the incumbent leadership.

During this week, he made two demands - early convening of the party executive committee to discuss Mr. Muraleedharan’s re-entry and a fair deal for leaders who returned to the party along with him.

Mr. Karunakaran indicated here the other day that he would soon formally write to the KPCC seeking the convening of the party executive.

With regard to accommodating his supporters, Mr. Karunakaran, in a letter to KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala, pointed out that many of his supporters who returned to the party along with him had not been given back the posts they held when they quit the party and its feeder organisations.

He said these leaders were not in a position to renew their party membership with December 31 fixed as the last date for the membership drive. He also demanded 25,000 membership books for his supporters.

The KPCC’s position is that the membership form can be downloaded from the Congress website and there is no shortage of membership books. The AICC has released 50,000 membership books in the State and these have been distributed in accordance to the leaders’ rankings. The facility to download the membership form is over and above the traditional route of mobilising members by issuing membership books.

It is clear that Mr. Karunakaran brought up the membership issue only to underscore his point that he and his men were being constantly slighted. He indirectly sought to highlight that the incumbent leadership was trying to play factional politics by keeping his men out of party positions.

Leader of the Opposition Oommen Chandy and KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala have made it a point to treat Mr. Karunakaran with due respect, without committing on his son’s entry.

Congress Working Committee member and Union Defence Minister A.K. Antony reportedly advised his party colleagues to show utmost respect to Mr. Karunakaran. With regard to Mr. Muraleedharan’s entry, he made it clear that the State leadership had the last word.

Mr. Chandy and Mr. Chennithala are of the view that Mr. Muraleedharan can be admitted only on the basis of a consensus in the party. They also point out to the unpopularity of Mr. Muraleedharan and a decision on readmitting him, they feel, should be taken only after careful consideration.

In any case, there is no urgent situation that warrants a quick decision on re-admitting him, they feel.

Mr. Muraleedharan was clearly told by the party high command that it stands by the State leadership’s positions. This dashed his hope coming back home via Delhi. It was only after his Delhi visit that Mr. Muraleedharan sought to meet Mr. Chandy and Mr. Chennithala. He had hoped for a favourable decision.

Mr. Karunakaran had also written to the KPCC president from his sick bed seeking a debate in the party executive on Mr. Muraleedharan’s return.

Mr. Karunakaran has been forced to take up his son’s case as no other political leader is willing to take an open stand on the issue.

Leaders like V.M. Sudheeran have been willing to go only to an extent, while other like P.C. Chacko are willing to provide the facilitation for his return.

Beyond that, there is no “take Muraleedharan back” campaign in the party to prompt the incumbents to reconsider their positions, it is pointed out.

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