Sonia gives green signal for Karunakaran's re-entry | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Sonia gives green signal for Karunakaran's re-entry

delhi Updated: Dec 30, 2007 21:50 IST

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Congress president Sonia Gandhi Sunday gave the green signal for the re-entry of Kerala veteran K Karunakaran into the party. An official announcement is expected on Monday.

Karunakaran, who met Gandhi at her 10, Janpath residence here, said the Congress president has "welcomed him warmly" into the party.

Talking to reporters, Karunakaran said his re-entry was "unconditional" and that he would work to strengthen the Congress in Kerala and at the national level.

Congress leader Mohsina Kidwai, general secretary in charge of Kerala, was also present during the 15-minute meeting.

The former Kerala chief minister, who had left the Congress in May 2005 and formed the Democratic Indira Congress-Karunakaran that eventually merged with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), is believed to have requested Gandhi to be present at the merger meeting. The Kerala veteran and his followers in the NCP would formally join the Congress.

However, the Congress president has not so far responded to his request.

Both Karunakaran and his followers would discuss the date for his re-entry and decide later.

"The meeting was very cordial. The Congress president welcomed me warmly. I cannot express in words about my feeling," a jovial Karunakaran, popularly known as 'Leader' told reporters.

"This is a time Congress is facing lot of problems. My 75-year-long political experience will be used to strengthen the party," he said.

Denying reports that some of Kerala leaders were opposing his return, Karunakaran said: "I do not think anybody is opposing my coming back to the party. If there are some, they are not genuine Congress leaders."

Karunakaran's return to the party is expected to consolidate its vote base among the Hindu voters as the Kerala unit of the Congress does not have any strong community leaders. Although it succeeded in keeping the party united in the state, Kerala state unit chief Ramesh Chennithala could not apparently influence the Hindu voters.

Karunakaran also met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during the day. He said he had urged the prime minister to increase the state's rice allocation as it was facing food shortage.