Chennai, Nov 3:
The Congress in Tamil Nadu split Monday with senior leader G.K. Vasan announcing his decision to float a new party.
“The people are looking for an alternative. We want to give an alternative in Tamil Nadu,” Vasan told reporters.
He said the new party’s name and flag will be announced at the party conference to be held in Trichy this month.
“Steps will be taken to register the party with the Election Commission,” he said.
Several leaders of the Tamil Nadu Congress party like Peter Alphonse, B.S. Gnanadesikan and others have joined Vasan.
Vasan said the All India Congress Committee did not act as per “our expectations” so that a Congress government could be formed in the state.
He said for 48 years the Congress has not been in power in Tamil Nadu while it has a vote share of more than five percent in the state.
“We will give preference to the problems faced by the state,” Vasan said about the party’s focus.
He said the party would follow the path laid down by late Congress leaders K. Kamaraj and G.K. Moopanar.
To a query, Vasan said he had campaigned for the party in all the 39 constituencies during the recent Lok Sabha election.
Tamil Nadu Congress chief E.V.K.S. Elangovan told reporters that the party will not be affected by Vasan’s exit.
Vasan leaving the Congress was being speculated about even prior to the Lok Sabha polls.
“They are ready to break anytime,” a Congress leader had then told IANS.
Things were not going in Vasan’s favour within the party as his supporters were sidelined.
A former union shipping minister, Vasan’s decision not to contest the general elections was not to the liking of the party leadership.
The break up plan firmed up after Gnanadesikan resigned his party post Oct 30 charging the party high command with not consulting the state unit on any party related matters.
He also attacked the decision to remove the pictures of late party leaders Kamaraj and Moopanar from party membership cards.
He also charged former union minister P. Chidambaram with going solo.
Gnanadesikan alleged that Chidambaram had not visited the party office for the past three months and held some meetings on his own.
He was perhaps the only state chief in the Congress to come out openly against the high command.
Vasan expressed his support for Gnanadesikan.
But not yielding to pressure tactics from the Vasan camp, the Congress appointed Elangovan as the new state chief.
Eighteen years ago Moopanar broke away from the Congress to form the Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC). The party was later merged with the Congress in 2002 under the leadership of Vasan.
The Congress was considered “untouchable” in the state by all other parties during the Lok Sabha election over its stand on the Sri Lankan Tamil issue and corruption charges. And the same situation is expected to continue till the 2016 assembly election in the state.
Vasan now has around one and a half years to prepare for the assembly polls.
His proposed outfit may be preferred by other Tamil Nadu parties for an alliance.