Dealing a blow to the struggling Congress, its senior leader and former Union minister G K Vasan on Monday quit the party and announced his decision to float a new outfit in Tamil Nadu.
Blaming those who were entrusted with the affairs of the Congress in Tamil Nadu for failing in their duty to strengthen the party, Vasan announced at a crowded press conference in Chennai that he and his supporters have decided to resign from the party.
"We are starting a new party. The name of the new party and its symbol would be announced soon at a rally to be held in Tiruchi shortly," he said.
Vasan said the approach of All India Congress Committee to Tamil Nadu was not satisfactory in achieving its goal, which prompted him to resign from the party.
"To achieve the goal in Tamil Nadu, there should be a different direction, a different approach from the AICC, which we are not satisfied with. We are having a new path.... we feel it will be a victory path," he said in stout defence of his new move.
The decision by Vasan to disassociate from the Congress, brings to end to his 14-year-long association with the grand old party following the merger of Tamil Maanila Congress floated by his late father G K Moopanar.
Former president of the Tamil Nadu unit of the Congress, B S Gnanadesikan, who resigned the party post last week, was also present with Vasan.
Making his ambitions clear, Vasan said, "We want to lead, be the number one regional party and an alternative political party to Tamil Nadu people and we feel we can fulfill the vision of the late Kamaraj. We are going in the right direction."
Vasan's father Moopanar too broke away from the Congress to float a new outfit 18 years ago.
Sulking over the Congress's decision to forge electoral truck with the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Moopanar, a veteran and influential leader of the Congress, came out of the party and floated the Tamil Maanila Congress in 1996.
However, after his death, the TMC merged with the Congress in 2002.
Promising a "new path," Vasan on Monday said the youth in Tamil Nadu are looking for a new political culture, which his party was confident of fulfilling.
Democracy, secularism, inclusive growth, social justice, transparent and efficient governance would be the objectives of the new party, he announced.
Stressing that his outfit's priority would be the welfare of the people of Tamil Nadu, he said it would follow the path of late Congress leaders Kamaraj and his father G K Moopanar. "We hope the people will support us as they supported Moopanar."
A date for the Tiruchi meet will be announced in a few days.
Blaming the AICC for having no yardstick to gauge merit, Vasan, however, hastened to clarify that he was not referring to the Congress top guns Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, but only those responsible for the affairs of the party in Tamil Nadu. "I am thankful to them. We have taken this decision after getting the feedback of lakhs of Congress cadres in Tamil Nadu and also leaders of Congress party in Tamil Nadu. We have sent in our resignations," he said.
To a query on the functioning of the AICC vis-a-vis the state unit, Vasan said, "As I told you, the decisions should have been taken faster in the interest of the party, merit should be considered at the right time. If it (merit) is considered even a little late, then it does not bear fruit."
Image: Former Union minister G K Vasan. Photograph: ANI/Twitter