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Antony, Karunakaran should pay the price: Chacko

By Our Special Correspondent

KOCHI, MAY 13. P. C. Chacko, former MP and one-time leading light of the Karunakaran faction, has said that the Chief Minister, A. K. Antony and the senior congress leader, K. Karunakaran, will have to pay the price for the Congress debacle in Kerala.

"Mr. Antony and Mr. Karunakaran are responsible for inflicting such a humiliation on the Congress workers and hence they both should pay the price," Mr. Chacko told The Hindu. He also said the `I' faction would survive and thrive, but `minus Mr. Karunakaran and his children.'

He contended that the selection of wrong candidates, particularly the fielding of Padmaja Venugopal and K. Muraleedharan, was the main cause for the Congress debacle. Mr. Karunakaran's `excessive love' for his children had made him insist on fielding them in the election. However, Mr. Antony, instead of putting the brakes, had conceded Mr. Karunakaran's demand and got the party high command to agree.

Mr. Chacko said the high command was totally against fielding Mr. Karunakaran's children and was unhappy with the list of candidates submitted by Mr. Antony. It had sat on the list for a long time to goad Mr. Antony into agreeing to replace the candidates for at least Mukundapuram, Ernakulam and Kozhikode. The party president, Sonia Gandhi, herself had sought changes in the list. But the Chief Minister had refused to relent and threatened that he would quit as Chief Minister if the list was altered, Mr. Chacko said. "The high command was bullied into accepting the list in its entirety," he claimed.

Now that the entire list has been wiped out, Mr. Chacko said, the two should pay the price for it and `compensate' the Congress workers for the humiliation. Mr. Chacko said the `I' faction would continue to thrive. "But, Mr. Karunakaran and his family will not be part of the faction." He warned that if Mr. Karunakaran and Mr. Antony continued to dictate terms to the party workers, they would be `resisted.'

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