New Delhi, Apr 25: Former Kerala Chief Minister K Karunakaran was today nominated to the Congress Working Committee (CWC) as a Permanent Invitee, bringing to an end the long suspense over his status in the Party.
His re-induction to the CWC was announced by AICC Spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan immediately after Congress President Sonia Gandhi formally decided to nominate him in the party's highest policy making body. Though the 91-year-old leader had returned to the Party six months ago, he was not given any official position, creating confusion among his supporters in the state. One of the conditions put forward by the veteran leader before returning to the Congress, which he had left after floating his own political outfit called 'Democratic Indira Congress' on May 1, 2004, was that he should be accommodated in the CWC. Ms Natarajan did not agree with the suggestion that Mr Karunakaran's nomination in the CWC would send a wrong signal.
"We want all Congressmen to stand united." When a reporter pointed out that Mr Karunakaran had floated a party of his own and publicly criticised the Congress leadership before re-joining the party, she said : All those things are forgotten. These things happen in politics." Mr Karunakaran met Ms Gandhi a month ago and raised the issue of delay in providing him and his supporters positions in the party.
There are indications that the AICC would soon announce Party positions for some of the top leaders who returned to the Congress along with Mr Karunakaran. Mr Karunakaran, a three-time Chief Minister, had been a member of the CWC for well over four decades except for four years from May 2004.
He had floated the Democratic Indira Congress after he fell with Ms Gandhi at the culmination of the intense grouping in the Kerala unit of the Congress with Defence Minister A K Antony on the other side.
He, however, merged his party with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) of Union Agricutlure Minister Sharad Pawar early 2007.
Mr Karunakaran remained in the NCP only for six months and had sent feelers to the Congress HIgh Command expressing his willingness to return to the Congress, which he had served for more than seven decades in different capacities.
Though Mr Karunakaran returned to the Congress, his son and former Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee Chief K Muralidharan refused to follow suit.
Mr Muralidharan openly criticised Mr Karunakaran for letting down thousands of his supporters who left the Congress along with him in 2004.
Mr Muralidharan is now the President of the Kerala unit of the NCP.