Deputy Leader, Party Whip to be elected within a week
CHENNAI: D. Sudarsanam was elected leader of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) at a meeting of the party MLAs at Satyamurthi Bhavan here on Friday.
Addressing presspersons, the Congress Working Committee member and in charge of party affairs in Tamil Nadu, M. Veerappa Moily, said the election of Mr. Sudarsanam was unanimous. Other office-bearers, including Deputy Leader and party Whip, would be finalised by Tamil Nadu Congress Committee president M. Krishnasswamy within a week, in consultation with Mr. Sudarsanam.
Though Mr. Moily said the choice of the CLP leader was unanimous, it was not without the drama that normally was part of Congress party meetings. MLAs belonging to different groups wanted to corner the CLP post for their group, which led to heated discussions. The meeting, which began at 7.30 a.m., could not come to a consensus even after an hour, though Mr. Sudarsanam had the support of a majority of the MLAs. As the MLAs had to attend the Assembly session, the meeting had to be abruptly ended at 8.45 a.m.
After the MLAs' departure, Mr. Moily informed waiting media that a near consensus was reached and the same was intimated to party president Sonia Gandhi for approval. After her clearance, he said, the name of the CLP leader would be announced.
By the time the party MLAs met again at 11.30 a.m., the clearance from the high command was received, paving the way for Mr. Sudarsanam's election.
According to party MLAs, Mr. Sudarsanam had the support of more than 20 of the 34 party MLAs.
Later, Mr. Sudarsanam was felicitated by Mr. Moily, the TNCC president, party MLAs and other functionaries.
Mr. Sudarsanam, who was elected from Poonamallee in the recent elections, had been MLA for the fourth successive term. In 1991 and 1996 Assembly elections he was elected from the same constituency while in 2001 elections he successfully contested from Tiruvallur.