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Karunakaran faction's crucial meet on Sunday

April 30, 2005 15:20 IST
Last Updated: April 30, 2005 15:22 IST

The factional drama in the Congress in Kerala seems to be moving to its final act with veteran leader K Karunakaran getting ready for a possible break with the party.

With no signal of a last-minute patch-up emanating from the high command, all that is left is the final announcement from the war-scarred stalwart of the formation of a new outfit at the workers' convention his group has convened in Thrissur on Sunday.

Though the octogenarian leader has persistently avoided the term 'split' so far, his announcement on Friday on quitting his Rajya Sabha seat is seen as an indication of the formation of the new outfit.

Karunakaran's son K Muraleedharan, who was expelled from the Congress earlier this month, has assumed a far more belligerent posture than his father by sharply attacking Chief Minister Oommen Chandy over the last fortnight.

Despite the brave face and bravados, it is still unclear for the father-son duo as to where to take the new outfit they are planning in the state's bipolar polity.

While the faction is keen to join hands with the Left Democratic Front, the front leader Communist Party of India-Marxist has so far refused to confirm the new formation.

Both Muraleedharan and Karunakaran had said they would pursue United Progressive Alliance's policies rather than those of the National Democratic Alliance.

Over the last few days the faction has been rattled by steady erosion in its ranks with many down-rung functionaries coming out against the split.

Most of the members of legislative assembly have already left the group and those still loyal to the faction are unlikely to turn up for the convention, fearing the prospect of losing their Congress membership.

Though 12 MLAs are reported to have submitted their letters of resignation to Karunakaran, the faction's decision is to spare them from attending the convention.

The recent flare-up in the long-drawn factionalism, has radically changed the equations in the anti-Karunakaran camp also.

For the first time, sharp differences between former chief minister A K Antony and his successor Oommen Chandy over the way the issues were being tackled have come to the fore.

Antony had admitted that he did not agree with Chandy's hardline approach. Chandy, in turn, did not conceal his differences with his one-time mentor about the way the party issues were handled right from the time the Karunakaran faction put up a rebel nominee for the Rajya Sabha polls two years back.

Also read:
Karunakaran to quit RS seat
Kerala's unwanted man
Cong expels Kerala leader Muraleedharan

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