Karunakaran formally returns to Congress

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Kochi, Feb 1 (UNI) In a virtual show of strength on the Marine Drive grounds here, veteran politician K Karunakaran today formally returned to the Congress to ''strengthen'' the party, which he had parted ways, ahead of the Assembly elections two years ago.

All India Congress Committee general secretary Mohsina Kidwai, in-charge of Kerala affairs, welcomed Mr Karunakaran, known simply as ''leader'' in the state, back to the party fold.

''Mr Karunakaran is not a new face for us. He is a veteran Congress friend. His contribution to Kerala and the Congress party is there for all of you to see,'' she said.

Referring to the lakh plus crowd assembled on the Marine Drive grounds, Ms Kidwai said the ''sea of humanity gathered here shows that the future of the Congress is bright.'' Exhorting the party members to fight the challenge posed by the communal forces, Ms Kidwai said the party would gain much from the advice and active participation of Mr Karunakaran, a former Kerala Chief Minister and former-union minister.

While the Congress activists had to battle the ''divisive communal forces'' on the one hand, on the other they should give a tough fight to the LDF government, which was totally ineffective, she said.

Kerala Pradesh Congress President Ramesh Chennithala, describing the ''aikkya mahasammelanam'' as historic, said the Congress would unitedly fight to dislodge the LDF government.

Also present on the occasion were Leader of the Opposition in the Kerala Assembly Oommen Chandy and several other senior state party leaders.

Mr Karunakaran, who had joined the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) after the Assembly elections, had decided to return to the Congress after a meeting with AICC president Sonia Gandhi in Delhi recently.

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