KERALA

Attempts to derail party polls: Murali

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, MARCH 11. The former KPCC president, K. Muraleedharan, has alleged that the Chief Minister, Oommen Chandy's camp was making all-out efforts to sabotage the organisational polls in the Congress in Kerala by suspending senior leaders and disqualifying them from contesting.

Addressing a meet-the-press programme organised by the Kesari Journalist Trust here today, Mr. Muraleedharan said the KPCC had transformed itself into a `pradesh suspension committee' targeting leaders belonging to the Karunakaran faction. "The KPCC has degenerated into a sub-office carrying out the instructions of the Chief Minister, who is authoritarian and who hardly discusses issues in the party and the UDF liaison committee. He alleged that the current developments proved that the Chief Minister was implementing his individual hidden agenda.

He said the Chief Minister was inducting his own men on the director boards of various corporations by removing `I' group leaders, but the faction had no complaints against the suspension of its nominees on the director boards of these organisations. The AICC general secretary, Ahmed Patel, himself had stated that the party did not contemplate any further disciplinary action against any other leaders.

Next strategy

In reply to a question whether a split was imminent, Mr. Muraleedharan said, the `I' group did not propose to go out of the party.

He refused to elaborate the faction's next strategy, but asserted that a clear political picture would emerge before the next panchayat elections. It remained to be seen whether the UDF itself would exist by that time. By now, two parties had been virtually sent out of the ruling coalition. Besides, he was not alone in holding such a view. The IUML leader, P. K. Kunhalikutty, had also indicated that the political equations could change in the near future. "None of us is proposing to go into political wilderness," he added. He had not held any kind of discussions with the CPI (M) leaders, but he had discussed issues with like-minded leaders in the party.

Asked whether the DCC presidents and others who hold important positions would attend Saturday's rally, Mr. Muraleedharan preferred to wait till the rally materialised. Asked whether the current campaign was to ensure his position in Congress politics, Mr. Muraleedharan said these were outdated charges. He had given up all official positions, refusing to accept Mr. Chandy's offers. It was only when the Karunakaran faction decided to hold the rally that the State Election Authority of the party made his appearance. He promised to announce the list of district returning officers and publish the membership list. Soon after that, he disappeared.

Asked if there was a formula to solve the problems, Mr. Muraleedharan said the next stage of conducting organisational elections should be initiated.

He wanted the Chief Minister to end disciplinary action against his detractors till the party elections were over. He demanded convening of the UDF liaison committee.

Mr. Muraleedharan said he had not got Mr. Patel's original letter suspending him from the party and he had got a message from the KPCC informing him of the action against him.