Karunakaran hints at accepting Sonia as leader
Former Congress leader K Karunakaran on Wednesday indicated he was willing to accept Sonia Gandhi as his leader, saying he had not attacked her.
"Soniaji is from the Nehru family for whom I have great respect and I have not spoken against her at the Kochi rally on March 20," Karunakaran told reporters.
Karunakaran's remarks assume significance as Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy Wednesday said a tie-up was unlikely between the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) and K Karunakaran's party for the upcoming assembly elections in the state.
"When there was a patch-up formula with him (Karunakaran) during the May 2004 general election, the people in Kerala rejected that temporary truce and we lost badly," Chandy told reporters.
But Congress emissary Veerapa Moily described Karunakaran's statement as a welcome gesture.
"I have to speak to party leaders to decide whether to meet Karunakaran. Anyway his statement is a positive one," said Moily.
Karunakaran, a former Congress chief minister, split from the party last year to float his new political outfit, the Democratic Indira Congress-Karunakaran (DIC-K).
However, Karunakaran is now making attempts for an alliance with the Congress after Kerala's main opposition Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) rebuffed his attempts for a tie-up for the April-May polls.
Several rounds of talks have been held between the two parties to forge a seat-sharing arrangement but they have so far not been successful.
The Congress is understood to have told Karunakaran that he would be given 15 seats on the condition that his candidates would contest under the party symbol, which was not acceptable to the veteran, who announced that his party would go it alone.
Against this background a meeting of the DIC-K Wednesday again postponed taking a final decision on the proposed tie-up with the UDF.