By-poll: `I' group to keep away from campaigning

KOCHI Sept. 6. The `I' group in the Congress, owing allegiance to the senior leader, K. Karunakaran, would keep away from campaigning for the party candidate in the ensuing Ernakulam Lok Sabha election, "till the wounds inflicted on the `Leader' is healed."

"We cannot function under these circumstances, and we are not going to function,'' the KPCC general secretary, N. Venugopal, told reporters here today after an informal meeting held at Mr. Karunakaran's daughter, Padmaja Venugopal's house in Panampilly Nagar near here.

He said the Chief Minister, A. K. Antony, had not consulted Mr. Karunakaran on the candidate for the by-election. Mr. Antony had not even bothered to contact the `Leader' even over the telephone so far, Mr. Venugopal said.

"No one can go ahead ignoring the legitimate claims of the `I' group,'' he said adding that the `A' faction was trying hard to destroy the `I' group.

Asked whether the issue would be settled once the Chief Minister talks it over with Mr. Karunakaran, Mr. Venugopal said the `I' group would act according to the wishes of its leader.

Those attended the meeting included P.C.Chacko, K.P.Haridas, T.J.Vinod, Zakir Hussain and P.P.Thankachan besides office-bearers from 12 `mandalam.'

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