Monday, Nov 17, 2003
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By Our Staff Reporter
He was talking to reporters here today. On whether he would campaign for the UDF candidate in the Thiruvalla Assembly by-poll, he said that he would take a final decision within two days. He said that it was up to the Chief Minister to take the initiative to hold talks as it was Mr. Antony's statements on the minorities that had triggered the crisis in the party. Asked if he would set any deadline for the Chief Minster to respond to his offer, he said it should be "as soon as possible".
Referring to the UDF convener, Oommen Chandy's statement that Mr. Muraleedharan should first show his sincerity by campaigning in Thiruvalla instead of proposing to hold talks, Mr. Muraleedharan said he had not addressed his questions to any `super Chief Minister'.
Asked whether he had decided to attend the `I' group rally on November 19, he said a decision would be taken tomorrow or day after. "After all, it is a rally organised on the birth anniversary of Indira Gandhi," he said. ``The Congress high command's date of December 1 is far away'', he said.
Responding to a query on whether he meant one-to-one talks with the Chief Minister, Mr. Muraleedharan said that it could even be that. He said that there was no dent in the number of MLAs who stood with Mr. Karunakaran. To a query, he said that Mr. Karunakaran could even present 75 MLAs.
On reports of the Speaker, Vakkom Purushothaman "threatening" some of the `I' group MLAs, he alleged that the former was threatening some junior MLAs of the `I' group by projecting the prospect of Assembly dissolution and trying to rope in senior `I' group MLAs, saying they were an asset to the party.
"All these MLAs met me at the KPCC office immediately after the Speaker's threats. They told me that they are not frightened to disclose their names. I will disclose the details later", Mr. Muraleedharan added.
Action sought against Chandy
Our Special Correspondent writes from Kochi:
The KPCC general secretary and Karunakaran faction spokesperson, N. Venugopal, has urged the high command to consider taking disciplinary action against the UDF convener, Oommen Chandy, for his remarks against the KPCC president.
``It is high time the high command took action against Mr. Chandy,'' he told reporters at a press conference here on Sunday. He said that Mr. Chandy had no business to criticise the KPCC president and stipulate conditions for his steps to resolve the crisis.
He alleged that Mr. Chandy was nursing the ambition of becoming the Chief Minister after Mr. Antony's "imminent ouster". Mr. Venugopal wanted Mr. Antony and Mr. Chandy to make their stand clear on the coming together of the Congress and the CPI(M) to defeat the `fascist and communal forces' at the national level. "This (Congress-CPI(M) tie-up) was not Mr. Muraleedharan's agenda. A blind `anti-Marxist' stand would not sell in the new national political situation," he said.
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