Congress rewards leaders who belong to no faction

Conveys message that it will not encourage factionalism in State

In appointing secretaries for the All India Congress Committee (AICC) from Tamil Nadu, the Congress high-command has gone for three leaders who belong to no faction.

The Prime Minister has inducted into the Union Ministry E.M. Sudarsana Natchiappan, who has refused to identify himself with any particular group in the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee (TNCC).

While it has retained K. Jayakumar, a former MLA, in the secretary post, it has appointed S. Thirunavukkarasar, a former Union Minister in the BJP-led NDA government, who has his roots in the AIADMK launched by former Chief Minister M.G. Ramachandran.

Mr. Thirunavukkarasar was also a member in the MGR’s cabinet. He joined the Congress when his tenure was not yet over in the Rajya Sabha and he was promised a reward.

Another secretary from Tamil Nadu is Dr A. Chellakumar, an articulate, two-time MLA, who was a loyalist of late G.K. Moopanar. He was one of the many Congressmen in Tamil Nadu threw their weight behind Moopanar when he launched the Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC) against the Congress high-command’s decision to align with the AIADMK in the 1996 Assembly elections.

But he fell out of favour with Moopanar and his son and Union Shipping Minister G.K. Vasan, and has been functioning without any clout in the Congress.

Mr. Jayakumar also does not belong to any group in the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee (TNCC).

“By appointing these three persons, the high-command has conveyed the message that it will not strengthen the factions in the State. But still we have miles to go before reviving the party organisation which has been functioning without office-bearers for years together,” said a senior Congress leader.

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