NCP-DIC(K) merger convention gets underway

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Kochi, Nov 12 (UNI) The Democratic Indira Congress (Karunakaran) led by veteran political leader K Karunakaran today formally merged with the Nationalist Congress Party of Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar.

The merger was announced at a convention at the Marine Drive venue, christened as 'Priyadarshini Nagar', here this evening.

Inaugurating the merger convention, Mr K Karunakaran assured his party workers that their interests would be protected even after the merger.

''We are not going to bend left or right. We will tred on the straight path. No one can separate me from you. We will walk together,'' he declared to a cheering crowd.

Nationalist Congress Party National General Secretary D P Tripathi, describing the occasion as a great moment for Kerala and Indian politics, said the days of single-party rule were over in the country.

''The single has been replaced by the plural. The days of single party rule are gone,'' he added.

Describing the NCP as one of the six national parties, he said it was the largest political force in Maharashtra with presence in Goa and the north-east. With the DIC(K) merging into the party, it would gain in strength in Kerala and become a stronger force, he added.

Lauding Mr Karunakaran as the ''tallest political leader in Kerala'', Mr Tripathi said the NCP had unanimously decided after internal discussions, to ask Mr Karunakaran to join the NCP.

The convention is to be addressed later by Union Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel. Mr Sharad Pawar, who had to undergo angioplasty at a New Delhi hospital yesterday, is not attending the convention.

The DIC(K), floated with great hopes by Mr Karunakaran after breaking away from the Congress in May last year, was not accepted by the Kerala electorate and had to bite the dust in the assembly elections earlier this year.

Looking for some kind of political rehabilitation, especially for his son and DIC(K) president K Muraleedharan, who lost the assembly polls, Mr Karunakaran decided to merge his party with the NCP, floated by another former Congress stalwart Sharad Pawar.


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