Thoothukudi: The long-persistent feeling of resentment between the state publicity and information minister, Kadambur C Raju and Srivaikuntam MLA, S P Shanmuganathan, surfaced in the party in Thoothukudi district, that is gearing up for the by-elections expected in the two assembly segments of Ottapidaram and Vilathikulam that fell vacant, since party MLAs - Sundarajan and Uma Maheswari of these constituencies, shifted loyalty to T T V Dhinakaran, and lost their posts.
Former MLA of Vilathikulam, Markendeyan, brought to light the internecine party squabble in the presence of state municipal administration minister, S.P. Velumani, and deputy speaker Pollachi V Jeyaraman, during an internal party meeting held here on Saturday, to discuss the by-election strategy for Ottapidaram and Vilathikulam constituencies.
According to a party functionary, Markendeyan, who has the backing of the former minister and sitting Srivaikuntam MLA, S.P. Shanmuganathan, as the AIADMK candidate for Vilathikulam in the by-election, blamed Kadambur C Raju of deliberately sidelining a section of party functionaries, whom he considered as rivals in the party.
"It was for this reason that S P Shanmuganathan, initially appointed as in-charge for by-election works in Vilathikulam constituency by the party high command, was removed from that responsibility," complained a party cadre and a supporter of Shanmuganthan.
In the place of S P Shanmuganathan, Kadambur C Raju had appointed himself as in-charge for the by-election works in Vilathikulam constituency.
Thoothukudi party district secretary, S T Chellapandian, an arch rival of S P Shanmuganthan, is also said to have joined hands with Kadambur C Raju, and is said to have proposed P Chinappan, district president of MGR youth wing of the party, against the candidature of Markendeyan. Chinnappan also is a former MLA of Vilathikulam.
Candidate selection for Ottapidaram reserved constituency too will not be smooth, said an AIADMK cadre, who added that former Ottapidaram MLA Mohan, preferred by district secretary, S T Chellapandian, was opposed by S P Shanmuganathan, who in the party workers' meet on Saturday openly expressed resentment towards the candidature of Mohan for Ottapidaram, saying, "none but the party high command has the right to finalise the candidate for Ottapidaram by-election."
The municipal administration minister, however, tried to pacify both the factions and advised party leaders in the district to work united for the victory of any candidate nominated by the party in Ottapidaram and Vilathikulam. "Shirking off our internal problems, we should work to ensure a massive victory with a margin of over 50,000 of our candidates in these two constituencies so as to teach a fitting lesson to the traitors (TTV Dhinakaran faction)," he urged.
The by-election, if announced, however would not be a cake walk for the ruling party that has lost a good share of cadres to T T V Dhinakaran's Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam, in the district....