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Gloves are off in TN Congress

At a time when it needs to bargain for seats from the DMK for the October local bodies elections, the Tamil Nadu Congress is at its favourite pastime ? infighting.

india Updated: Sep 25, 2006 03:09 IST
GC Shekhar

At a time when it needs to bargain for seats from the DMK for the October local bodies elections, the Tamil Nadu Congress is at its favourite pastime – infighting.

The squabbling has reached such a level that TNCC President M Krishnaswamy has to be repeatedly reigned in by last minute diktats from AICC General Secretary and TN-in-charge Veerappa Moily.

Krishnaswamy is in the unenviable position of each of his action being questioned by the rival faction led by Union Minister GK Vasan and ultimately overturned by an indulgent Moily.

So much so Krishnaswamy's followers have put up angry posters accusing Moily of becoming a puppet and weakening the state unit to satisfy Vasan's ambitions. "Moily is out to derail Krishnaswamy's authority in every possible way that the state president is unable to carry out even his normal duties," said a Congress MLA.

Early this month, Krishnaswamy appointed district level committees that had no DCC presidents. This was promptly shot down by Moily saying that Krishnaswamy had not taken the high command's approval. The state president then negotiated seat sharing with the DMK taking along Union Minister Elangovan and Congress spokeswoman Jayanthi Natarajan. Moily declared this committee to be void as well and directed Krishnaswamy to take only CLP leader D Sudharshanam, a Vasan supporter.

Since the DMK had declared that seat identification for the local bodies elections would be decided at the district level, Krishnaswamy announced district level election committees on Saturday. Again Sudharshanam, who has taken it up with Moily, has questioned the composition of these committees.

While Krishnaswamy has become the rallying point for Union Ministers like P Chidambaram, Mani Shankar Aiyar and Elangovan, the dominant group led by Vasan has found in Moily, its guardian angel. With just three days to go for nominations to close it would be a surprise if the Congress can surmount its present problems and field candidates for the seats allotted to it.