Mukul Wasnik keeps question on alliance in abeyance

The need for revamping the Congress party organisation including a change in the leadership to fully prepare it to face the Lok Sabha polls due next year came up for discussion on Sunday during a meeting chaired by AICC general secretary Mukul Wasnik, who is in-charge-of party affairs in Tamil Nadu.

The question on alliance was kept in abeyance as Mr. Wasnik made it clear that it was for a committee headed by Union Defence Minister A.K. Antony to decide.

Sathyamurthy Bhavan, the headquarters of the Congress, which otherwise wears a deserted look, sprang to life this morning with former MLAs, MPs, district leaders, sitting MLAs and MPs, making a beeline with their supporters to meet Mr. Wasnik.

Though riddled with factionalism, two groups - one led by Union Shipping Minister G.K. Vasan and the other by Finance Minister P. Chidambaram’s son Karti Chidambaram - had emerged in a big way, overshadowing others. And they sought to assert their position in the party during their meeting with Mr. Wasnik.

While the rivals have accused the present leadership of being ineffective, the Vasan group sought to quell the criticism by saying that it had organised many public meetings and grass-root level discussions in many Lok Sabha constituencies.

The contention of the rival group is that TNCC president B.S. Gnanadesikan has been soft on AIADMK Government and Chief Minister Jayalalithaa. “We want a change in leadership. Moreover, we need a complete revamping of State level organisation. The new set up should be compact with 20 State-level office bearers and not a jumbo size set up,” said a rival group leader.

The followers of Mr. Karti Chidambaram also wanted a change of leadership. “There is no point in talking about alliance and other issues without a change in the leadership of the party,” said one of Mr. Karti’s supporters. Another section of leaders complained that the talk of the high-command extending support to the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) in the Rajya Sabha polls should not have arisen at all. “The high-command must realise that it should bring together all the secular parties under one roof in Tamil Nadu to achieve victory in the polls,” said a leader, who is in favour of alliance with the DMK.

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