S. Dorairaj

A section for continuing ties with AIADMK

AIFB leader Debabrata Biswas avers that electoral alliances will be finalised by the central committee State unit chief Karthik flays AIFB legislator L. Santhanam for showing "disrespect" to the high command

CHENNAI: Cracks have appeared in the State unit of the All India Forward Bloc (AIFB), with a section insisting on continuing ties with the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK).

AIFB national general secretary Debabrata Biswas had said recently that issues relating to electoral alliances would be finalised only at the party's four-day central committee meeting beginning on February 10.

National issues

Things came to a head in the wake of Mr. Biswas, along with the newly appointed State president and film star Karthik, calling on Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief M. Karunanidhi on January 26.

Mr. Biswas' clarification that the meeting was only to discuss national issues did not convince the faction led by the party's lone legislator, L. Santhanam.

This resulted in a war of words between Karthik, who has affirmed his loyalty with the national leadership, and his detractors, for whom the ties with the AIADMK are irreversible.

Mr. Biswas had to intervene to set the record straight.

He said no individual had been authorised to decide on electoral alliances.

Mr. Karthik also pointed out that the central committee alone could guide the State unit on forging electoral ties, on the basis of feedback from activists at the grassroots level.

Allaying apprehensions about his meeting with Mr. Karunanidhi, he said it was a courtesy call. As State AIFB president, he would meet Chief Minister and AIADMK general secretary Jayalalithaa also if she gave an appointment.

Flaying Mr. Santhanam for showing "disrespect" to the high command at the party's State committee meeting, Mr. Karthik said nobody should question the powers of the general secretary to meet leaders of other parties in the interest of the party.

On certain reported statements of Mr. Santhanam, Mr. Karthik cautioned against attempts to publicly criticise the central leadership.

`Bid to split party'

Alleging that the senior functionary had been issuing press statements with the intention of splitting the party, he said the central committee was dismayed at such acts that violated party discipline.

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