Tamil Nadu Congress Committee (TNCC) leadership is displeased with the All India Congress Committee (AICC) Tamil Nadu in-charge Dinesh Gundu Rao for staying the State Disciplinary Action Committee’s order suspending Nanguneri MLA Ruby R. Manoharan, just hours after it was issued on Thursday.
The MLA did not appear before the committee to provide an explanation on the protests by his supporters at the party headquarters on November 15 in Chennai.
A showcause notice was issued to Mr. Manoharan and TNCC SC department head, M.P. Ranjan Kumar, on November 17 seeking an explanation on November 24.
In a statement after the showcause notice was issued, Mr. Manoharan had contended that he had nothing to do with the violence at the party headquarters and urged the TNCC leadership to reconsider disciplinary action against him.
On Friday evening, 10 TNCC MLAs, including deputy Congress Legislative Party leader, Rajesh Kumar, met the Congress party president, Mallikarjun Kharge, to apprise him of what unfolded on November 15 at the party headquarters. They reportedly underlined that the scuffle had lowered the party’s image in the eyes of the public after the State leadership successfully steered clear of such instances in the last few years, which they were previously known for. They are also likely to meet AICC organisation in-charge, K.C. Venugopal, according to sources in TNCC.
A senior TNCC leader and MLA, who didn’t wish to be quoted, claimed, Mr. Rao, doesn’t have the powers to interfere in the decision of the State Disciplinary Action Committee.
“The committee decided to temporarily suspend Mr. Manoharan to ensure that he appears before the disciplinary committee at least next time. We respect Mr. Rao, but he doesn’t have any powers to interfere. Only the AICC Disciplinary Action Committee can interfere,” said a senior leader privy to details regarding the suspension.
Asked if the State Disciplinary Action Committee has the powers to suspend an elected member, the senior leader said, “It has the powers to issue a ‘temporary ‘ suspension order. If it is an elected member, it can provide recommendation to remove him/her to the AICC Disciplinary Action Committee, head by senior Congress leader, A.K. Antony which will take the final decision. As far as non-elected members are concerned, the State Disciplinary Committee can issue orders.”
He said that K.R. Ramasamy will travel to New Delhi to provide his side of the explanation. A TNCC MLA, who had gone to New Delhi to meet the party president, said, “We met him to discuss what happened on November 15 and represented ourselves. The party needs to grow and we cannot allow some people to tarnish the party’s image over the appointment of two block presidents.”
However, Mr. Rao, said, “State Disciplinary Action Committee cannot suspend an MLA, they can only make a report to the AICC Disciplinary Action Committee. They cannot even temporarily suspend an MLA. How can they do it?”