TNCC members rage over former LTTE supporter being allotted Sriperumbudur constituency

Is Congress candidate from place of Rajiv Gandhis assassination an LTTE sympathiser Dissent growsYouTube
news TN 2016 Wednesday, April 27, 2016 - 09:28

Scores of instances of infighting are emerging across political parties, with the DMK having possibly the worst run of the lot – the party has promptly changed its candidates in two constituencies. The Congress however, hasn’t had it any easier after P Chidambaram expressed his displeasure over the seat-sharing arrangement with ally DMK, saying his party has been allotted "seats which we do not need".

On Tuesday, senior leader and former MLA D Yasoda staged a protest with her supporters outside the state party headquarters. The Sriperumbadur constituency had been allotted to Selva Perunthagai, a Congress leader reportedly known to have spoken of the LTTE in laudatory terms in the past.

“Sriperumbudur is where Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by Tamil extremists. How can the party do such a thing? Of all the constituencies, here?” Yasoda asked. Aside from the fact that senior party leaders feel that they have been overlooked after 40-50 years of serving the party, the allotment, Yasoda says, is ill-fated. “We don’t know where it is going to go from here. Even EVKS Elangovan has not given us a clear answer,” she rues.  

Selva Perunthagai was reportedly an ardent follower of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam’s (LTTE) late leader Prabhakaran. Reports that he had justified the killing of the late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in public platforms while in opposition was enough cause for concern.

However, Selva is said to have gotten political clearance by EVKS Elangovan, much against the wishes of the Special Protection Group (SPG) and the Tamil Nadu State Police. Alarm bells rang once again when he was seen in the inner ring of Rahul Gandhi’s security cordon in 2015.

He began his political career by joining the VCK in 2003. VCK is a party that vociferously supports the LTTE.

Many Congress leaders allege that he faced several arrests under the Goonda Act for anti-social activities under the 2001-2006 AIADMK regime. Congress members allege that after 2000, Selva had developed a rapport with LTTE members in Jaffna.

He had contested elections in 2006 under the VCK-AIADMK alliance, winning, and served as an MLA until he made an abrupt exit

He then shifted loyalties to the Bahujan Samaj Party after falling out with Thirumavalavan in 2009, but his hobnobbing with the DMK had caught the BSP’s attention and he was promptly ousted. He joined the party in 2009 and was expected to join the All India Congress Committee, but a few leaders protested, citing his past. He was directed to join the TNCC in 2010, and was immediately appointed president of the SC/ST Cell. 

Perungathai attributes the party dissent to jealousy. “It was Chidambaram who put me in charge of the SC cell, and it is Elangovan who has offered me this post. This is simply an attempt to malign my image because they did not get seats." Perunthugai, “I have been screened by Elangovan himself, and I do not have any LTTE ties or share sympathies with the group. This is not true.” 

 Yasodha says much of this is to be attributed to his falling out with P Chidambaram and his affinity towards Elangovan after the rift. “Elangovan took him under his wing. We don’t understand who would sympathise with a man who has encouraged the LTTE. It is a huge insult to the constituency and the party as a whole.” 

In response, Congress minority leader S M Hidayatullah had served an ultimatum to the party high command to allot him a ticket by April 29. If not, he vowed to distance himself from the party and make a gradual exit. 


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