COIMBATORE: Feud in the Congress has led to Deputy Mayor K. Raghupathy pulling out of the civic elections. Mr Raghupathy alleged that he had been denied the letter of allocation of symbol owing to groupism in the party.
The party had announced Mr. Raghupathy's candidature from the same ward for the third time and he even stood the chance of becoming Mayor. His withdrawal is attributed to the clash between the former Tamil Maanila Congress members in the party and the group owing allegiance to the Nilgiris MP and former Union Minister, R. Prabhu, who is the party's election committee head for this region. Mr. Raghupathy was elected from Ward 1 in 1996 as a Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC) candidate and was the party's floor leader in the Council till 2001.
He was made Deputy Mayor after the October 2001 elections.
Chance to contest
Congress sources say Mr. Raghupathy is a casualty of the continuing factional feuds in the party. While this is the view of those in the group identified as the `TMC in the Congress', sources in the other camp contend that Mr. Prabhu has not denied Mr. Raghupathy the chance to contest.
Mr. Raghupathy had not collected the letter even well past noon on the day of filing the nominations though he had been invited.
This forced the party to field another candidate. The sources say that Mr. Raghupathy may have been forced to withdraw by the "TMC group" because it could not get the wards it wanted.
The Deputy Mayor contends he had gone to Mr. Prabhu's house to collect the letter.
"But they wanted me to sign on a letter that said the Youth Congress fast on wards allocation was wrong. The authorisation letter was not given as I refused to sign that letter," Mr Raghupathy said.
Wondering why the symbol allocation letter had been kept in Mr. Prabhu's house when the candidates had been finalised, Mr. Raghupathy said as per rules it should have been handed over to the district president of the party or the Returning Officer.