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The Congress central leadership views developments in Tamil Nadu as a consequence of intense factionalism in the State unit and G.K. Vasan’s personal ambitions, but an alternative view is that there is a “rebellion building up in the party.”
Five months after the Lok Sabha election defeat, the Congress is yet to come up with a revival plan and several leaders have begun to express impatience publicly.
Two days ago, AICC general secretary Digvijaya Singh demanded that vice-president Rahul Gandhi take over as Congress president, which was officially denounced by the party.
Mr. Vasan’s exit comes soon after the party’s defeat in Maharashtra and Haryana last month.
“Rebellion is building up against the central leadership. The central leadership’s defeatism, inaction and silence are the reasons,” said Zoya Hassan, professor of political science at Jawaharlal Nehru University. “It is one thing for Rahul Gandhi to remain silent when the Congress was in power. Why is he not speaking now?”
In the run-up to the Lok Sabha election and subsequently, several Congress leaders quit to join other parties. But Mr. Vasan’s decision to revive a regional outfit his father once founded may inspire other ambitious leaders elsewhere. There is brewing dissent in Haryana and Assam, apart from several other States.
Mukul Wasnik, party general secretary in charge of Tamil Nadu, admitted that there was a crisis in the party, but termed it a part of routine ups and downs of politics. “You win elections and you lose elections…we’ll have to start strengthening the party from the grass roots,” he said on Monday.
Mr. Wasnik told The Hindu that he had been in regular touch with Mr. Vasan in recent months. “All the so-called reasons that he is citing now, such as that we decided to ignore the late G.K. Moopanar and K. Kamraj during the membership drive, are false. The AICC does not decide what party literature is distributed at the village or town level.”
A senior party leader in New Delhi said Mr. Vasan wanted to control the entire State unit. “The AICC secretary in-charge travelled to all districts before appointing a State executive, which Mr. Vasan was avoiding,” the leader said. “His exit is the outcome of intense factionalism in the State and will have no bearing on the party nationally or in other States,” he added.
Hours after Mr. Vasan announced his plans to part ways, the party in New Delhi said that it had “expelled him for anti-party activities.”
“He was with us when the UPA was in power and he was an important Minister. These grievances never cropped up then,” Mr. Wasnik said, adding that Mr. Vasan’s personal ambitions were at play now.
“Those who wanted a share in power were with us; now that we are in the Opposition, perhaps they are not in the mood for struggle,” he added.
From: The Hindu