The TMC-Congress merger proposal seems to going through a rough patch with a section of the Tamil Maanila Congress deciding to stay away from the merged entity.
Five TMC MLAs - D Kumaradoss, M A Hakeem, S S Mani Nadar, R Eswaran, S K Thamizharasan - have asked Tamil Nadu assembly Speaker K Kalimuthu to allot them separate seats in the house.
Thamizharasan is the Tamil Nadu president of a faction of the Republican Party of India. However, he had contested last year's assembly poll on the TMC's symbol.
Their decision may invite disciplinary action, but the damage would still have been done because if the errant MLAs get their way, the merged entity would be denied the status of the main opposition party, which the DMK would continue to enjoy.
The DMK has 27 MLAs in the house and the TMC-Congress legislators add up to 29.
TMC president G K Vasan and former Union minister of state for personnel S R Balasubramanian told newspersons in Chennai on Saturday that none of the MLAs had broached the subject before the party leadership.
They had read about their request to the speaker through media reports, they said adding the party would initiate action against the erring MLAs when the details were available.
However, as a precautionary measure, the TMC's general council resolved to request the Election Commission to freeze the party's name, flag and symbol from August 14, the day of the merger.
When the rebels stayed away from the general council meeting, Vasan said the MLAs were not acting on their own, that 'some force' was behind them.
The rebellion, which is by far the most serious problem, is however not the only problem haunting the TMC just days before the merger is to be formalised.
The first hurdle was the role of party president G K Vasan in the new entity. Once that was sorted out, a decision had to be taken on the city where the merger function was to be held. After some deliberation, the choice fell on Madurai.
Then came the decision on the venue for the function. The state government denied them use of the Race Course grounds as it is not let out for political functions.
The Thamukkam ground was rejected as being too small and not very safe from the security point of view. The party finally settled for a private property, which Sonia Gandhi's security personnel also approve of.
More reports on Tamil Nadu
Back to top
Tell us what you think of this report