Special Correspondent

Chennithala says their return is unconditional

NEW DELHI: The former Kerala Minister P. Sankaran and four other leaders who recently left the Democratic Indira Congress (Karunakaran) are in the capital to finalise the formalities for their ``unconditional return'' to the Congress.

And, signalling the Congress' willingness to take them back, party president Sonia Gandhi has agreed to meet them on Tuesday.

Mr. Sankaran, V. Balaram, M. A. Chandrasekharan, N. D. Appachan and D. Sugathan, MLAs during their stint with the Congress, were diehard supporters of Mr. Karunakaran till he decided to merge the DIC(K) with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). Mr. Balaram gave up his Wadakkancherry seat in 2004 to facilitate the entry of K. Muraleedharan, Mr. Karunakaran's son, to the Assembly.

In the capital since Sunday, they held discussions with Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president Ramesh Chennithala and the former Chief Minister A. K. Antony.

They were slated to meet Ms. Gandhi's political secretary Ahmed Patel later in the evening. Mr. Chennithala met Ms. Gandhi on Monday to discuss their return to the Congress. Briefing presspersons later, Mr. Chennithala said they were willing to return without any condition.