Cong, Karunakaran to fight elections together
Karunakaran's decision to form the DIC-K had created a major dent in the Congress support base.india Updated: Mar 24, 2006 18:00 IST
In a dramatic turnaround, Kerala's ruling Congress party struck an alliance on Friday with former party veteran K Karunakaran.
Karunakaran had broken away only last year, to fight upcoming elections.
The deal was clinched after several rounds of talks.
Karunakaran's decision to form the Democratic Indira Congress-Karunakaran (DIC-K) had created a major dent in the Congress support base.
"This alliance would help the UDF (Congress-led United Democratic Front) in the assembly polls," said state Congress president Ramesh Chennithala.
Chennithala went with party emissary M Veerappa Moily to Karunakaran's house for the talks.
Karunakaran's son K Muraleedharan said their aim was to ensure the victory of the UDF.
"The broader details of the alliance will be worked out soon," he said.
However, earlier in the day, things did not appear as rosy with some top leaders of DIC-K expressing opposition to an abject surrender to the Congress.
"We are not against an alliance but we feel a total surrender is certainly not going to augur well for DIC-K," said senior party leader, KG Nair.
Consequent to the new understanding, Karunakaran's party has been accommodated as a UDF ally by giving it 18 seats.
Kerala has 140 assembly constituencies, which go to the polls April 22, 29 and May 3.
Ironically, as recently as Wednesday, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had described Karunakaran as someone whose track record was poor and who could not be trusted.
As per the new agreement, signed by Muraleedharan and Chennithala in the presence of Chandy, the DIC-K would merge with the Congress following a meeting with Sonia Gandhi after the elections.
The turn of events is seen as a compromise for Karunakaran who had formed his own party last year with the aim of ensuring the ouster of the Oommen Chandy-led Congress.
He had even teamed up with the opposition Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM)-led Left Democratic Front in two assembly by-elections, the local bodies poll and the Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha by-poll.
The veteran began feeling the heat after the CPI-M in January decided not to have any truck with his party.
Knowing that there was no scope for fighting the assembly polls on its own, DIC-K asked the Indian Union Muslim League for help in returning to the UDF fold.
First Published: Mar 24, 2006 18:00 IST