Blow to Congress in Tamil Nadu, Vasan quits

  • KV Lakshmana, Hindustan Times, Chennai
  • Updated: Nov 04, 2014 09:20 IST

Former Union minister GK Vasan quit the Congress on Monday and announced plans to form a new political party in Tamil Nadu, striking another blow to the beleaguered party after its bruising loss in the general election and recent assembly polls.

Vasan said he decided to break away and offer the people of Tamil Nadu an alternative because the Congress had failed to reflect the aspirations of its cadres.

“We are starting a new party. The name of the new party and its symbol would be announced soon at a rally to be held in Tiruchi shortly,” Vasan said. “Congress has not been in power in Tamil Nadu for the past 47 years. We will chart out a new course, a new approach to win over the people and present a good alternative to the Dravidian parties.”

Hours after Vasan announced his resignation, the Congress “expelled” him in an action aimed at demonstrating that it would not tolerate rebellion.

Vasan’s announcement leaves the Congress in a precarious position in Tamil Nadu ahead of assembly polls in 2016. With the leadership of the two major regional
parties — the DMK and the AIADMK — mired in controversies and corruption cases, it also gives the BJP a political edge as it seeks to expand its national footprint after its big win in the Lok Sabha polls and the assembly elections in Maharashtra and Haryana.

The move fuelled speculation that the Tamil leader may revive the Tamil Maanila Congress, a party founded in 1996 by his father, the late Moopanar, that merged with the Congress in 2002.

Three of five Congress MLAs were with Vasan when he announced his decision to quit the party, including senior leaders Peter Alphons and Vishwanathan.

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