Fissures grow bigger in Tamil Nadu Congress as infighting peaks2 min read . Updated: 02 Mar 2017, 08:47 PM IST
The differences between TNCC president S. Thirunavukkarasar and former president E.V.K.S. Elangovan are only getting bigger in Tamil Nadu, where the Congress's existence is at stake
Chennai: It has been 50 years since the Congress was ousted from power in Tamil Nadu and as the rift within the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee (TNCC) deepens, the party seems to be struggling for political space in the state.
The differences between TNCC president S. Thirunavukkarasar and former president E.V.K.S. Elangovan are only getting bigger. While both the leaders have been expressing contradictory views since Thirunavukkarasar took over as the state committee president, the confusion within the TNCC has gone from bad to worse, amid the chaos in Tamil Nadu politics.
On Wednesday, Elangovan told reporters, “I don’t know who Thirunavukkarasar is."
Elangovan, who was the state unit’s president, resigned last June, claiming responsibility for the party’s poor performance in the assembly elections in May. Congress, in an alliance with the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), won just eight of the 41 seats it contested. The party was without a chief for three months, until Thirunavukkarasar was appointed in September.
Since then, there have been opposing views within the Congress which also has led to a friction with its ally the DMK.
While Elangovan demanded a white paper on the treatment administered to late chief minister J. Jayalalithaa, Thirunavukkarasar, who began his political career in the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) ,opposed the move and criticized his predecessor by calling him “mentally affected".
The disagreement with the DMK peaked just before the trust vote (on 18 February) of the Edappadi K. Palaniswami government in the Tamil Nadu assembly. While its alliance partner decided to vote against Palaniswami , there was confusion on Congress’s stand, as Thirunavukkarasar was dithering until the last minute.
Then, following the high command’s intervention, the TNCC chief announced that its eight legislators would vote against the ruling party.
There was a strong buzz that Thirunavukkarasar was trying his best to side with the V.K. Sasikala faction due to his closeness with the AIADMK chief’s husband M. Natarajan. However the Congress leader denied the allegations.
“The Congress created too much confusion at the last minute before the trust vote," said a senior DMK leader.
“As we would face the local body polls before May, I hope the Congress clears all its internal chaos before that," he added.
Thirunavukkarasar, a former AIADMK man, had supported the Jayalalithaa faction, when the party faced a similar chaos in 1988 following party founder M.G. Ramachandran’s (MGR) death. The other faction was led by MGR’s widow Janaki Ramachandran.