Faction-riddled Tamil Nadu Congress wants a new president — and there are many contenders

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BySouth First Desk

Published Dec 03, 2022 | 10:40 AMUpdatedApr 04, 2023 | 9:16 PM

KS Alagiri

It was in February 2019 that the current president of Tamil Nadu Pradesh Congress Committee (TNPCC), KS Alagiri, was appointed. Now, with the party’s internal polls for the post of AICC president behind them, Congress cadres want a new president in the state too.

And there is no dearth of interested candidates.

Under Alagiri’s leadership, the Congress won eight out of nine parliamentary seats in the 2019 general elections to the Lok Sabha and 18 out of 25 seats allocated to it in the 2021 Tamil Nadu Assembly polls. Not a bad record at all.

In the faction-riddled Tamil Nadu Congress, the trigger for the leadership change demand seems to be the clash that broke out between supporters of Alagiri and those of MLA and treasurer Ruby Manoharan at the party headquarters in Chennai on 15 November.

Though the TNCC Disciplinary Action Committee suspended Ruby Manoharan from the party over the clashes, the suspension was stayed by AICC Tamil Nadu in-charge Dinesh Gundu Rao on the grounds that proper procedure was not followed. This yet again signalled that all was not well within the TNCC.

It didn’t end there. Some Tamil Nadu Congress leaders, like legislative party chief Selvaperunthagai, EVKS Elangovan, KV Thangabalu, etc, called on AICC president Mallikarjun Kharge in New Delhi demanding that Alagiri be replaced.

While Congress MP Karti Chidambaram has openly stated that he would get rid of factionalism in the TNCC if he is made state chief, there are other Congress MPs representing constituencies in South, North and Central Tamil Nadu like Manickam Tagore, Jothimani, Chellakumar among those eyeing the post.

The name of a Tamil Nadu Congress MLA too is doing the rounds.

Whether a change will happen or not remains to be seen. But clearly the party could do with someone who will take on the young and publicly fierce BJP state chief Annamalai.