Sonia to give a fair deal to Karunakaran

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New Delhi, Mar 28 (UNI) Congress President Sonia Gandhi today assured former Kerala Chief Minister K Karunakaran, who re-joined the party three months ago, that she would immediately take a decision on accommodating in suitable posts and positions his supporters who returned to the party along with him.

"I am satisfied with the discussion. She has assured to give adequate consideration to my supporters who returned to strengthen the party," the 90-year-old veteran leader told mediapersons after a 30-minute-long meeting with Ms Gandhi at her official 10 Janpath residence.

Mr Karunakaran, who had recently gone public against the delay in giving positions to his supporters, sounded upbeat when he said that he was confident that Mrs Gandhi would not let him down.

Asked if he was assured a seat in the prestigious Congress Working Committee, in which he had represented for more than five decades, he said had not asked for anything nor had he cherished ambition for any post.

He categorically denied that he would be a candidate in any future elections, including the forthcoming General Elections early next year.

Though Mr Karunakaran returned to the party three months ago, no formal decision has been taken by the Congress High Command with regard to party positions to him and his men.

Mr Karunakaran discussed the post and position sharing issue with AICC General Secretary Mohsina Kidwai, who is in charge of party affairs in Kerala, before meeting Ms Gandhi.

Ms Kidwai was also present at the discussion with the Congress President.

This was the first meeting between Mr Karunakran and Ms Gandhi after the former met her in January here, expressing his desire to return to the Congress Party, which he had served for more than seven decades in different capacities, including as Chief Minister thrice.

Mr Karunakaran and his son and former Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee President K Muralidharan left the Congress Party and floated their own political outfit- Democratic Indira Congress-on May 1, 2005, but later merged the party with the Nationalist Congress Party headed by Union Minister Sharad Pawar.

Mr Karunakran returned to the Congress Party three months ago, but his son Muralidharan continues to be the President of the NCP in Kerala.

Asked if his son would follow his footsteps, Mr Karunkaran said after a long pause that "any grown up person has the total freedom to take his own decision. I would not influence his independent decision.

Mr Karunakran earlier called on Law Minister H R Bhardwaj and brought to his notice the demand for setting up a bench of the Kerala High Court in Thiruvananthapuram.

Mr Bhardwaj had promised him to take a decision if there was no objection from the Chief Justice of the HIgh Court.

He also met Transport and Shipping Minister T R Baalu and batted for the proposed Poovar Port, besides the expeditious clearance for the Vizhinjam port.

Mr Karunkaran would meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here tomorrow.

UNI PMD/SH VD HS1812

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