PUDUCHERRY: A day after securing a victory in the hustings in alliance with the DMK, Congress leaders intensified lobbying for the top job in the Union Territory. While the names of V Vaithilingam and A Namassivayam were doing the rounds, speculations were rife that former Union minister V Narayanasamy, who nursed dreams of becoming the Chief Minister, too was pushing his name from the sidelines.
While veteran Congress leader V Vaithilingam has a watertight curriculum vitae, with experience ranging from being a former Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader to occupying the Leader of Opposition chair, his closest rival A Namassivayam is being hailed as the one who successfully stewarded the party’s journey to the Assembly. Vaithilingam, who was toppled by N Rangasamy in 2011, is banking on his experience to pip Namasivayam to the post.
Upbeat after the victory, Namassivayam camp has been pitching his name for the CLP position. His supporters claimed that Namassivayam, a Vanniyar, was appointed the Puducherry Congress Committee (PCC) chief to woo the community towards the Grand Old Party and he delivered on that front. It was under Namassivayam’s stewardship that Congress made the cut, his supporters claim.
While the aspirations of the two leaders are out in the open, AICC general secretary V Narayanasamy could very well be the dark horse in the race. Narayanasamy has been lobbying for the top job, banking largely on the precedent set by P Shanmugham, who was made the chief minister despite not being elected by the voters. Others eying the post are former ministers M O H F Shajahan and M Kandasamy. Even as the tussle for chief ministership continues, Narayanasamy said that the leaders should all function unitedly to fulfil the promises made.
Sources in the party said that AICC general secretary Mukul Wasnik would reach the Union Territory on Saturday after paying his respects to the Rajiv Gandhi memorial at Sriperambudur. Meanwhile, PCC president A Namassivayam told newspersons that the local unit was in touch with the high command and soon a meeting of the legislators would be convened. A decision is likely next week.
Taking heart from Shanmugham story
Former Union Minister V Narayanasamy has been lobbying for the top job in Puducherry, banking largely on the precedent set by P Shanmugham, who was made the chief minister despite not being elected by voters. Kandasamy is relying on his SC status while Shajahan has been lobbying for a minority community member as CM.