M A I N   N E W S

Congress splits in Kerala, Karunakaran floats party

Thrissur, May 1
A veteran Congress leader and four-time Chief Minister of Kerala, Mr K Karunakaran, today floated a new party christened the National Congress (Indira), effecting a vertical split in the party in the state.

Mr Karunakaran, who had a seven-decade-long association with the Indian National Congress, seemed to have capped the years-long intense factional feud that rattled the Congress unit and defined its ups and downs in the state.

He vowed to weed out corruption and violence by launching the “original Congress” that would follow the ideals set by the Nehru family.

In a specially convened session here marked with emotional outbursts of loyalty to his family, thousands of delegates elected Mr Karunakaran’s son and former PCC chief K Muraleedharan as the president of the new political outfit.

The National Congress (Indira) called upon the Left parties to join hands to form an alliance in line with that at the Centre and work towards the progress and welfare of the state.

Mr Karunakaran handed over a flag that included the picture of late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in the Congress tri-colour, to the new president, who in turn entrusted it to the 14 chiefs of district committees.

Mr Muraleedharan said they would form a democratic, socialist and secular front in the near future in Kerala, similar to the one visualised by UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi at the Centre.

Inaugurating the convention, Mr Karunakaran recounted his association with the party since his school days but promised a new journey with his supporters who always stood by him.

“We are beginning a new journey to cleanse the Congress and to end the misrule of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy in Kerala. This is not going to be easy as our opponents had the support of racketeers and mafia,” he said.

“We are stamping out the unwanted elements from the real Congress, rather than forming the new organisation. We are going to build an agenda for that,” said Mr Karunakaran.

Mr Muraleedharan said unlike the official faction where organisational elections never happened, the new party would hold polls after the membership drive and strengthen its feeder bodies.

Though the camp claimed the support of 10 MLAs, they abstained from the convention attended largely by DCC, KPCC and AICC members at Priyadarshini Nagar here.

Both the leaders came down heavily on the Ommen Chandy government citing “misrule”. Mr Muraleedharan called the official faction a “private limited company” owned by a few leaders.

However, the leaders did not make even a single adverse reference to the Congress High Command. — UNI

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