Sunday, September 06, 2009

Down, but not out



Having lost the elections as a NCP candidate, K. Muraleedharan is trying to get back to the Congress

By Shevlin Sebastian

On voting day, during the last Lok Sabha elections, K. Muralidheeran, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) candidate visited a polling station in Wayanad constituency. He met an aged woman who introduced herself as the wife of a late senior Congress leader.

She said, “During your first election in 1989, when your wife gave birth to a son, it was my husband who passed the message to you when it was flashed on the police wireless system.”

Muraleedharan was touched by what she said and remembers telling her, “Today, my son is casting his vote for the first time as an adult in Kozhikode,” he says. “How time has passed.” They embraced each other.

Muralidheeran, the son of former Kerala chief minister K. Karunakaran, began his career in the Congress, fell out, joined the party floated by his father, Democratic Indira Congress (Karunkaran), left that and became the president of the NCP.

“The unusual aspect of the recent Lok Sabha campaign was that when the people realised that the NCP was not aligned to any of the major coalitions, the LDF or the UDF, they expressed their admiration,” he says.

However, Muraleedharan finished a poor third, although he was happy that he had garnered 99,633 votes.

“I knew it was an uphill struggle,” he says. “So I was not disappointed that I lost.” He says that the one clear lesson he gained from the defeat is that in Kerala it is difficult to win an election without being part of an alliance.

He also realised that the NCP has poor prospects in the state. Some time ago when Muraleedharan publicly expressed his desire to return to the Congress, he was expelled from the NCP for anti-party activities.

For the past several weeks Muraleedharan has launched a campaign to get himself reinstated. “I have spoken to several Congress leaders and they have expressed their support,” he says.

Muraleedharan says that when he meets the people they urge him to return to the Congress. “They tell me that my father had been a Congress stalwart for so many decades and I should also be part of the party,” he says. “They feel that I can serve them better as a Congressman. I agree with their analysis.”

Following the Onam celebrations Muraleedharan is planning to go to Delhi and meet Defence Minister A.K. Antony and other senior Congress leaders. “There will be some good news soon,” he says.

(The New Indian Express, Chennai)

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