`Onus is on Karunakaran, Antony, Murali'

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, APRIL 24. The former Union Minister, K. P. Unnikrishnan, said here today that the responsibility of ensuring the victory of Congress candidates rested solely with the Chief Minister, A. K. Antony, the veteran leader, K. Karunakaran and the Electricity Minister, K. Muraleedharan.

Addressing a press conference, Mr. Unnikrishnan expressed his reservations about the selection of candidates for the Lok Sabha elections in Kerala and stated that this would have a lasting impact on Congress politics. He said the entire democratic process in selecting candidates was subverted just to further the interests of one family. He said that he was not aware about what happened behind the screen, but Mr. Karunakaran had his way because Mr. Antony was willing for a compromise.

Though he was not willing to comment on the outcome of the elections, he said that the rather strong reactions to the selection process were bound to have their own impact. He did not subscribe to the view that the unity in the Congress could be restored once Mr. Karunakaran and Mr. Antony came together on a platform. If one were to go by the reports from the lower levels, the story is totally different. Unity had not percolated below, he added.

In reply to a question, Mr. Unnikrishnan said he did not believe that his stand on the Bofors issue during his tenure as an opposition MP, had worked against his attempts to get a ticket from the Lok Sabha. "I have already informed the AICC president, Sonia Gandhi, that I was not ready to go back on the positions that I took as an opposition MP. These are all old stories," he said.

Asked about Priyanka Gandhi Vadera and Mr. Rahul Gandhi's entry, he said that both of them had the right to choose their path. However, Priyanka seemed to have a bright future as she had the ability to attract the people. "However, I don't subscribe to the view that the future of the party depends solely on them," he added.

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