Sunday, Apr 06, 2003
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By Our Special Correspondent
According to Ambika Soni, AICC general secretary in charge of the State, the need for sending an observer would arise only at the time of voting in the eventuality of a contest. However, she added "we are confident that none of our leaders will do anything that would harm the party in any way".
While opting for a wait-and-watch policy in the hope that frayed emotions would heal with time by Monday, the deadline for withdrawal of nominations the official line is that there is no question of changing the party's candidates.
Senior leaders refused to comment when parallels were drawn between the present scenario and the Assembly elections when the high command went back on its resolve not to succumb to pressure and changed three candidates at the last minute on the insistence of the senior leader, K. Karunakaran.
The central leadership is in constant touch with the Kerala unit. While Ms. Soni is said to have spoken to the Chief Minister, A. K. Antony, and the KPCC president, K. Muraleedharan, today, no contact has been made with Mr. Karunakaran since he decided to field the Kasargod District Congress Committee president, K. Govindan Nair, for the Rajya Sabha elections.
About reports of Mr. Karunakaran sending the State Tourism Minister, K. V. Thomas, to Delhi to discuss matters with the high command, senior leaders said "all are welcome", and "if need be, we will talk to Mr. Karunakaran".
The high command today continued to maintain that it had no information on Mr. Muraleedharan's resignation. "Mr. Muraleedharan has sent a letter to the Congress president, but we do not know whether it is a resignation letter.
``Even the Congress president has not confirmed it."
Since it was Mr. Karunakaran's objection to Mr. Muraleedharan's choice of P. C. Chacko for the Rajya Sabha that made the high command zero in on Thennala Balakrishna Pillai, the central leadership laboured the fact that every effort had been made to accommodate all viewpoints.
Also, it was pointed out that Mr. Pillai had stepped down from PCC presidentship in favour of Mr. Muraleedharan, again because of Mr. Karunakaran.
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