Dealing a body blow to the Karunakaran faction in the ruling Congress in Kerala, the party high command on Sunday expelled his son and former Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president K Muraleedharan from the party for anti-party activities.
"K Muraleedharan, who had been suspended from the party earlier, continues to indulge in anti-party activities. It has, therefore, been decided to expel him from the party for six years with immediate effect," an All India Congress Committee statement said.
The development capped months of factional fight in the state unit, which saw the 'I' group, led by Karunakaran, organising rallies across the state in defiance of the central leadership and floating parallel district committees.
The internal feud led to party's rout in the last Lok Sabha polls as it drew a blank in all the seats it contested.
Soon after Muraleedharan held the third zonal rally in Kochi on March 21 against the central leadership's wishes, the Congress high command had given ample indications it would expel him.
But the decision was delayed after former chief minister A K Antony, who had been conducting back-channel negotiations to end the crisis in the party's state unit, intervened.
Antony, who reached in New Delhi on Saturday night, met party president Sonia Gandhi on Sunday and held discussions on the political situation in the state.
Muraleedharan's expulsion came as the party was gearing up for organisational polls in the state after a long gap. Assembly elections in the state are also due next year.
Muraleedharan blamed Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy for his expulsion. He claimed he had not done anything against the interests of the party, but had only opposed the `unilateral' actions of Chandy.
Muraleedharan said the `I' group would chalk out the future course of action in the next two days.
"Our faction will be meeting in Thiruvananthapuram on April 12 to take a final decision," he told PTI in Kozhikode.
Meanwhile, Karunakaran said he will not 'meekly' accept the high command's decision.
"I am not going to bow my head and take the decision lying down," Karunakaran told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram.
It was 'unfortunate and cruel' for a Congressman, who had served the party for over seven decades, to be 'rewarded' in this manner, he said.
Karunakaran said he would decide on the next course of action after consulting party workers and supporters.