K.V. Prasad

COIMBATORE: Feud in the Congress has forced Deputy Mayor K. Raghupathy to opt 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 announced Mr. Raghupathy's candidature from the same ward for the third time and he stood thechanceof becoming Mayor. His withdrawal is attributed to a clash between former Tamil Maanila Congress members in the party and a group owing allegiance to 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.

Two versions

One view is that Mr. Raghupathy is a casualty of the continuing factional feuds in the party, while sources in the other camp contend that Mr. Prabhu did not deny Mr. Raghupathy the chance to contest. According to them Mr. Raghupathy did not collect the letter even past noon on the day of filing of nomination though he had been invited. This forced the party to field another candidate. The Deputy Mayor contends he had gone to Mr. Prabhu's house to collect the letter.

"But they wanted me to sign 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," he said.