Karunakaran meets Sonia, returns to Congress

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New Delhi, Dec 30 (UNI) Former Kerala Chief Minister K Karunakaran today returned to the Congress Party after he had a meeting with Party President Sonia Gandhi.

A formal announcement about his re-admission into the party will be made tomorrow, AICC General Secretary in charge of Kerala Party Affairs Mohsina Kidwai told UNI after the 30-minute-long meeting at Ms Gandhi's 10 Janpath residence.

Mr Karunakaran told mediapersons that he was "satisfied" with the meeting and his return to the party was "unconditional." Asked if Ms Gandhi agreed to give him any position, the three-time Chief Minister said he was never after positions. "I came here to convey my willingness to serve for the party. I will discharge whatever responsibilities that the Party High Command may entrust to me." Ms Kidwai accompanied Mr Karunakaran to the meeting, the first between Mr Karunakran and Ms Gandhi after the 90-year-old leader left the party to float his own political outfit, Democratic Indira Congress (DIC-K), on May 1, 2005.

''The meeting was cordial. Mr Karunakaran has returned to the Congress,'' Ms Kidwai said.

An hour after his meeting with Ms Gandhi, Mr Karunakaran called on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Mr Karunakaran said he urged Dr Singh to take immediate steps to release sufficient quantity of rice to Kerala to tide over the present shortage.

Though Mr Karunakaran left the Congress Party along with his son and former Pradesh Congress Committee President K Muralidharan, he returned to the party alone.

Mr Muralidharan, who is at present President of the Kerala unit of the Nationalist Congress Party, had already made it clear that he would not follow the footsteps of his father this time.

Mr Karunakaran and Mr Muralidharan together joined the NCP a year ago, after merging the DIC(K) with it.

Asked if his son would also return to the Congress, Mr Karunakaran said, "As a politician, he has come up to a higher level.

I am proud of him. However, he cannot keep away from the Congress Party for a long time." More UNI

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