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Karunakaran's supporters face disciplinary action
George Iype in Kochi |
April 14, 2003 19:53 IST
A section of Congress legislators in Kerala are faced with the prospect of strict disciplinary action for having voted for a rebel candidate in Monday's election for three Rajya Sabha seats.
The rebel candidate, Kodoth Govindan Nair, a nominee of senior Congress leader K Karunakaran, was defeated by the official Congress candidates, Thennala Balakrishna Pillai and Vayalar Ravi.
Karunakaran's open revolt against party president Sonia Gandhi is also likely to lead to disciplinary action against him and his son and Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president, K Muraleedharan.
People close to Karunakaran's archrival, Chief Minister A K Antony, said Sonia would initiate action against the rebels after All India Congress committee observers -- Ghulam Nabi Azad and R K Dhawan -- submit a report to her.
Senior party leader Oomen Chandy said: "The Rajya Sabha elections have proved that despite Karunakaran's machinations, the United Democratic Front in Kerala is strong and is here to stay."
The immediate fallout of the defeat that Karunakaran has suffered would most probably be the removal of Muraleedharan from the KPCC office, Congress sources said.
Party officials blame Muraleedharan for precipitating the crisis that threatens to split the KPCC vertically. They say he, without consulting either Antony or Karunakaran, recommended senior Congress leader P C Chacko's name as one of the party's RS candidates.
However, after Karunakaran refused to back his son's choice, the party high command consulted Antony and nominated Vayalar Ravi and Thennala Balakrishna Pillai as its candidates.
"Muraleedharan has no right to continue as KPCC president as he has failed to keep the Congress united in Kerala. I am sure the party high command will soon remove Muraleedharan to ensure that Karunakaran and his son do not become a liability for the party in Kerala," a senior leader close to Antony told rediff.com.
Karunkaran's defeat in the battle for power in Kerala is unlikely to affect the constitution of Antony's cabinet in the immediate future, but it will certainly lead to some panic desertions from the rebel camp.