TAMIL NADU

No one can split my family: Karunakaran

KOLLAM, FEB. 15. The Senior Congress leader, K. Karunakaran, said here today that the same coterie which had worked overtime and succeeded in removing him from the Chief Minister's post in 1995 now cherished the idea of ruling the State for a full five-year term.

Inaugurating a massive district-level convention of the `I' group, organised by the Kollam DCC president, Sooranand Rajashekaran, Mr. Karunakaran became emotional while stating that the manipulations to oust him from the Chief Minister's post was effected at a time when he was convalescing after a car accident.

``Even though I want them to rule for five years, are they moving in that direction,'' he asked. They formed a group that tried in vain to finish the Congress in 1980 by even aligning with the CPI(M).

On coming back to the fold, they were now trying to correct Congressmen, he said.

Mr. Karunakaran said he was not addressing any particular group within the party. ``There is only one Congress and that is the Indian National Congress. Others who are ruling under a so-called group address within the party are those who were not in the party once,'' he said.

Mr. Karunakaran said if this group which was now basking in power tried to ignore the INC, they would soon realise it was a wrong step. ``The moves have gone to such an extent that they were now trying to even split my family. But let me tell you that no one will be able to split my family.''

Addressing the gathering of Congress workers, Mr. Karunakaran asked: "When I derive strength from your support, whom should I be frightened of."

He said the intention of the convention was to strengthen the party, keeping in mind the responsibilities towards the welfare of the people. Care should be taken not to go away from the people, he said.

Advising the UDF Government to settle the employees strike amicably at the earliest, Mr. Karunakaran said the ESMA would only help generate animosity.

Over five lakh Government employees should not be seen as enemies.

He wanted the party to give more encouragement and opportunities to the youth. He said the KSU had been ignored over the years.

Addressing the gathering Mr. Karunakaran's daughter and KPCC executive committee member, Padmaja Venugopal, said that anything said by her father was being twisted to look as though Mr. Karunakaran was not allowing those in power in the State to rule.

She said one should have the capability to rule and her father had proved it.

The Electricity Minister, Kadavoor Sivadasan, also addressed the gathering. Mr. Sooranad Rajashekaran presided and the former DCC president, K.C. Rajan, delivered the welcome address.

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