NEW DELHI, Oct 2, Reuter: Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi has readmitted into the ruling Congress (I) Party two former ministers in his mother’s government, ahead of next year’s national elections, a party spokesman said on Sunday.

Pranab Mukherjee, finance minister in Indira Gandhi’s government, was suspended from the party in 1986 after he criticized it in a magazine interview.

Former State Chief Minister M. Chenna Reddy left the party in 1984 after differences with Indira Gandhi, who was assassinated that year.

The party spokesman said the two were readmitted after they wrote to Rajiv Gandhi saying it was time for all congressmen to reunite,

Parliamentary elections are due in December next year and in recent weeks Gandhi has thrown ‘open the door to former members, who had either resigned or been suspended from the party.

Party sources said Mukherjee and others had been readmitted to strengthen the party at state level.

All were regarded as members of the old guard who lost influence after Rajiv Gandhi came to power and brought in younger politicians to lead the party.

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