New Delhi, Nov 6 (UNI) Brightening the chances of return of former Kerala Chief Minister K Karunakaran to the Congress, AICC General Secretary Veerappa Moily today said the veteran leader had to first make up his mind.
"He (Mr Karunakaran) should decide first. Then Congress steps in," Mr Moily, who was in charge of the party affairs in Kerala till recently, told mediapersons at the party headquarters here.
"He is now in the Nationalist Congress Party. He has a son..so he has to first decide." Asked if the party would be glad to accept Mr Karunakaran minus his son, he said he did not say anything of that sort.
He dismissed the suggestion that 90-year-old Mr Karunakaran's return to the Congress fold after a gap of nearly three years would lead to disunity in the state Congress.
"It is not the question. He was with us earlier also." Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee chief Ramesh Chennithala and former Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy have come out openly against the re-admission of Mr Karunakaran, who had expressed his desire to come back to the Congress, saying that there was new found unity in the party after the veteran leader left it along with his son and former PCC Chief K Muralidharan.
The statement of Mr Moily is at variance with the AICC General Secretary in charge of Kerala's party affairs Mohsina Kidwai. Ms Kidwai, who was in Kerala for three days till yesterday, told mediapersons there that the issue of Mr Karunakaran's re-admission was not before Congress President Sonia Gandhi.
Mr Moily said when he was in charge of the party affairs in Kerala, he had facilitated Mr Karunakaran to enter into an agreement with the Congress Party before the May 2006 assembly elections in the state.
Under the agreement, he was to have merged his Democratic Indira Congress (DIC), which he had floated on May 1, 2004, after he left the Congress, with the Congress after the elections.
"However, the agreement did not take off after the elections," he said, pointing out that "the ball is now in their court." Mr Karunakaran and his son have merged the DIC with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) last year.
During his recent visit to Delhi, Mr Karunakaran had said that he was willing to return to the Congress Party, which he had served in different capacities, including as Chief Minister three times, for well over seven decades.
However, his son Muralidharan had openly announced that he would not return to the Congress Party which had "humiliated" his father four years ago.