Amid a ruckus triggered by a factional fued at a party meet, Tamil Nadu Congress Committee President Su Thirunavukkarasar Tuesday told a gathering of party leaders that he was ready to step down from his post.
Addressing district Congress functionaries and leaders of party wings at a closed door meeting, he said he had informed All India Congress Committee Secretary Sanjay Dutt that he was willing to step down, highly placed party sources told PTI.
Thirunavukkarasar said a whispering campaign was on in a “section of the media” against him that party leaders Sanjay Dutt and Chinna Reddy (AICC Secretaries) were on a visit here to “enquire into complaints” about him.
“I told him (Dutt) if that is the purpose for which you have come… tell me I will step down,” Thirunavukkarasar told the gathering amid silence in the presence of Dutt and former TNCC presidents E V K S Elangovan and K V Thangkabalu.
The TNCC chief asserted that “it is false propaganda” and must be avoided, an apparent message to rivals in the party.
“Is that (looking into complaints) is the mission ?..it is not his (Dutt) mission. He has come here to help and develop the party. My full cooperation is for the central team,” he said.
The TNCC chief said he was appointed as party State unit president by “Rahul Gandhiji” and should be treated as such.He appealed for “unity to make Rahul Gandhi Prime Minister.”
Thirunavukkarasar’s outburst comes against the background of a running fued with Elangovan, who recently said Congress has a good future in Tamil Nadu if the former went back to the BJP.
The acrimony reflected Tuesday when loyalists of Elangovan tried to barge into the meet, held for specific office-bearers, leading to a ruckus.
Commenting on the episode, Thirunavukkarasar told the meeting that “Not everybody can attend the meet since entry is only by invitation.”
He, however, said he has “no grievance, no problem with anyone,” and addressed Elangovan as “my brother”.
Expressing anguish over being unnecessarily targeted by some in the party who claimed that he was hobnobbing with the AIADMK, he asserted that he had “not even once said that an alliance with the DMK is not needed.”
“I even declared that Stalin will be the Chief Minister. I everyday visited Kalaignar (Karunanidhi) when he was in the hospital,” he said and asked more could be expected of him.
He said an alliance with the DMK was good, but efforts should be made to strengthen the party in Tamil Nadu and multiply the membership.
On the charge by some rivals in the party that he was not taking them along, he said he was carrying on party work with “available” functionaries, though there are over a dozen “general secretaries and deputy general secretaries.”
The meet was held to guide party functionaries on the Tamil Nadu specific outreach campaign (to be held this month) to take on the BJP led Centre on the Rafale deal.
Thirunavukkarasar was a minister in the late Chief Minister M G Ramachandran’s Cabinet from 1980 to 1987.
A former BJP Secretary and Rajya Sabha member, he was also a former minister of state in the NDA regime, but quit the party to join the Congress in November 2009.