Wednesday, May 28, 2003
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By Our Special Correspondent
The AICC leadership of the party would prefer the State unit put its house in order, than go for something dramatic. "We will only do something when we are convinced that it will be for the better," said the AICC general- secretary in-charge of the State, Kamal Nath.
The first meeting of the 11-member steering committee here was presided over by Mr. Kamal Nath, who met the members collectively and individually in a bid to get a feel of the problems and the perceptions of the State leaders.
Sources said the need for a change was voiced by G. K. Vasan, who said the system of having a president and a working president was not working. He found support from the former TNCC chief, Thangabalu, and MP Gnanadesikan, but apparently failed to convince Mr. Kamal Nath.
The AICC leadership of the party appears keen on getting the State unit moving first by setting up district and block committees.
Mr. Kamal Nath is likely to visit Tamil Nadu again in the next few days and its appears that the question will be addressed then.
The meeting also sought to finalise the programme for the Kamaraj centenary celebrations, for which the Congress president, Sonia Gandhi, is likely to visit the State on July 16.
The leadership appears particularly concerned about the friction between the TMC and Congress groups and the steering committee spent time trying to iron out the differences.
Mr. Kamal Nath admitted that the leadership realised that more time and energy had to be devoted to " tightening the nuts and bolts of the merger".
He reiterated that the party wanted to approach the people of the State as an alternative to both the Dravidian parties.
"We have to strengthen the party and build up support at the grassroots level so that we can add to our vote share," he said.
Today's meeting of the steering committee was attended by all the members save the Lok Sabha MP, Mani Shankar Aiyar, who is in Pakistan as a member of a parliamentary delegation.
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