TN Congress faces split as Vasan set to break away

Moopanar's son may revive Tamil Maanila Congress

TN Congress faces split as Vasan set to break away

The Congress high command is facing the prospect of a split in Tamil Nadu following the appointment of former Union minister E V K S Elangovan as the president of the party’s state unit.

Elangovan’s appointment on Saturday came after the resignation of B S Gnanadesikan on Thursday as head of the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee, which consists of feuding factions led by G K Vasan and P Chidambaram.

The elevation of Elangovan, considered neutral to both factions, appears to have angered Vasan, who dropped ample hints of parting ways with the Congress and reviving the Tamil Maanila Congress, founded by his father, the late G K Moopanar.

“I will announce my plan of action on November 3,” Vasan told reporters in Chennai after holding consultations for the second day with his supporters, including former MLAs Vellore Gnanasekaran and Vidiyal Sekar.

“In Tamil Nadu, the movement (Congress) can be strengthened only by invoking the legacy of Kamaraj and Moopanar,” he said in an obvious reference to the tussle with the high command over the issue of membership cards.

The Congress has been pushed to the margins of Tamil Nadu politics, and has relied heavily on either the DMK or the AIADMK for electoral successes.

Moopanar had floated the Tamil Maanila Congress in 1996 in protest against the decision of the Congress high command to enter into an alliance with the AIADMK. Vasan became the party’s president following Moopanar’s demise in 2001. Two years later, he merged the outfit with the Congress.

The latest flashpoint between Vasan and the Congress central leadership has been the use of photographs of Moopanar and K Kamraj on the party’s membership cards. It is learnt that AICC general secretary Mukul Wasnik had ticked off the Vasan camp over the move, saying membership cards never carried photographs of party leaders.

Gnanadesikan had quit as TNCC president on Thursday saying as he was upset at being “neglected” by the AICC.

“The state president does not have respect and powers,” he had said, citing several instances of belittling of his role in party affairs.

Vasan, who enjoys considerable clout in the TNCC, has conveyed his displeasure to the Congress leadership.

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