Though 12 years have passed since office-bearers were appointed for the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee (TNCC), the high command is yet to make its mind on the issue. However, recent poll predictions – indicating an increase in vote share – have come as a morale booster to the party in the State.

TNCC president B. S. Gnanadesikan, during his meeting with AICC vice-president Rahul Gandhi and general secretary Ahmed Patel two days ago, had stressed the need for having office-bearers when elections to the Lok Sabha were round the corner. The high command may release the list soon.

Mr. Gnanadesikan had submitted a list of office-bearers on May 2 to the then general secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad, in-charge of party affairs in Tamil Nadu, but the appointment of Mukul Wasnik as new general secretary further delayed its release.

The TNCC president had consulted leaders of the party in Tamil Nadu before preparing the list. However, a faction opposed the list on the ground that it provided more representation to the camp of Union Shipping Minister G. K. Vasan.

“In the beginning, Mr. Wasnik wanted to revamp the list thoroughly. But he gave up the idea and is making only a few changes,” TNCC leaders said.

A faction led by Karti Chidambaram, son of Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, in its representation to Mr. Wasnik stressed that the list should be compact and not unwieldy. But the Vasan group argued that having more office-bearers was the only way to please Congress leaders who had been working for the party, which has been out of power in the State for 47 years.

“You do not fix any term for a Congress MP and MLA. A person can contest elections as many times as possible. What is wrong in giving just a party post to a person who has been working for the organisation for long?” asked a leader close to Mr. Vasan.

The Vasan group said if the high command was not able to formulate the criteria for appointing office-bearers, it should go by the outcome of elections to Youth Congress and student Congress posts. “The elections were held in democratic manner and we polled the maximum number of votes. What else would you want?” wondered the Congress leader from the Vasan faction. However, the Congress high command, apparently keen that the Vasan and Karti factions do not overshadow others, has appointed K. Chellakumar and S. Thirunavukkarasar, who do not belong to any faction, as national secretaries. “Factionalism has always been a part of Tamil Nadu Congress since the days of Rajaji and Kamaraj. There would always be two factions. The high command’s action should not result in encouraging more factions,” said a leader.

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