TN Cong splits as Vasan floats new outfit

Party leadership claims ex-member's exit will not affect its state unit

TN Cong splits as Vasan floats new outfit

There seems to be no end to the woes of the Congress as its Tamil Nadu unit suffered a split on Monday with senior leader and former Union minister G K Vasan quitting the party to announce his new outfit

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Hours after his exit, the Congress announced the “expulsion” of Vasan for “anti-party activities”. The announcement was made in New Delhi by AICC spokesman Ajoy Kumar.
Putting on a brave face, the Congress leadership said Vasan’s exit would not split its Tamil Nadu unit. “Those who wanted a share in power were with us, the moment we are in opposition, they have left us,” said Mukul Wasnik, AICC general secretary in-charge of party affairs in Tamil Nadu.

There was speculations last week that Vasan, who was upset with the functioning of the Congress in the state, has planned to float a new party. On Monday, Vasan declared, “I am not satisfied with the way the Congress functions in Tamil Nadu and therefore, I have decided to start a new party.” He said the party’s name and flag would be unveiled during a public meeting at Trichy in a few days.

He said the Congress, which failed to establish itself as a formidable party in the state, could not come to power after the rule of the late Kamaraj, 48 years ago.

“No serious efforts have been made to strengthen the party to capture power,” he said, adding that the Congress high command did not give party posts to senior leaders.

He claimed that his new party would get a boost from senior Congress leaders, including Peter Alphones, sitting MLAs and several former ministers, who are expected to join him.
Vasan’s move was seen as a mere repetition of his father the late G K Moopanar, who floated Tamil Manila Congress (TMC) in 1996 after quitting the Congress in protest against the All India Congress Committee (AICC) decision to ally with the Jayalalitha-led All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK).

The TMC was merged with the parent body in 2000 and Vasan plunged into active politics by becoming a Rajya Sabha member and later served the Congress-led UPA government as shipping minister.

The Congress split in the state was quite evident soon after TNCC chief Gnanadesikan resigned from his post in October, complaining that the high command did not consult him on any party-related matters. Meanwhile TNCC chief and former Union minister E V K S Elangovan said Vasan should not have gone out when the party was in a crisis.

In Delhi, Wasnik rejected Vasan’s charge that the AICC did not consult the Tamil Nadu unit of the party in making key appointments. He said efforts were made till the last minute to ensure that Vasan remained with the Congress.

In the recent Lok Sabha elections, the Congress managed to get just 4.3 per cent of the total votes in Tamil Nadu. Senior leaders such as Vasan, formerfinance minster P Chidambaram, former Union minister Jayanthi Natarajan had refused to contest the Lok Sabha elections fearing a rout, which did happen.

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