The 13-year-old sub-regional party, Kongu Nadu Munnetra Kazhagam (KNMK), which demonstrated its presence by an impressive polling percentage in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, is going through a spell of leadership crisis.
Two years ago, when the party suffered a split, the then general secretary of the KNMK E.R. Easwaran left and floated the Kongu Nadu Desiya Makkal Katchi (KNDMK). G.K. Nagaraj was made the general secretary.
After Mr. Nagaraj wanted Mr Ramaswamy to name his successor, as the president was said to be keen on retiring from politics, the latter declared that the general secretary had been relieved of his responsibility. Meanwhile, Mr.Nagaraj said he was contemplating even quitting the party’s primary membership along with his supporters.
On Saturday, amid reports that Mr Nagaraj had been sacked, he told a press conference here that he continued to be the general secretary. He wondered why a statement, dated December 10, 2013 regarding his removal from the post, should be circulated now.
He pointed out that when he gave his resignation letter three months ago, it was not acted upon. Instead, he was persuaded to continue. “Mr. Ramaswamy even told me that he was contemplating of quitting active politics and said that he would announce his retirement formally at the appropriate time.”
M. Thangavel, the KNMK’s headquarters secretary, who signed the statement, said it was decided to make the statement public now as Mr. Nagaraj, through his interactions with the media, was causing confusion among the cadre. Repeated attempts to get in touch with Mr. Ramaswamy went in vain. Calls to his mobile phone were answered only by his assistants, who said Mr. Ramaswamy had gone out of station.
Launched in 2001, the party faced its first election in 2009 and fielded candidates in 12 Lok Sabha constituencies. In Coimbatore, Pollachi and Erode, it polled more than one lakh votes (as against total voters of 7.5 to 8.25 lakh).
In Tirupur, it polled 95,000-odd votes and 52,000 in Namakkal. This resulted in many mainstream parties wanting to align with the KNMK, Mr.Nagaraj said. (With inputs from K.V. Prasad)