Congress men hurl chairs; two injured

Sivaganga MP Karti Chidambaram was present at the meeting

Intra-party rift within the Congress party here snowballed into a fistfight with some workers also hurling chairs. Due to this the meeting had to be abruptly called off on Saturday.

Uneasy calm prevailed as two workers suffered multiple injuries and after police descended, the partymen were forcibly directed to leave the venue, even as Sivaganga MP Karti Chidambaram, MLAs Mangudi, K. R. Manickam and ex-MLA and senior leader K. R. Ramasami were present.

The meeting was convened to discuss the strategy for the ensuing rural local body poll among other things. As the Congress had been allotted the Kannagudi union ward 3 councillor post, the leaders were present to select the candidate.

As the meeting was under way, some speakers spoke about the manner in which MLA Mr Mangudi functioned ‘unilaterally’. Instantly, some of his supporters from the audience objected to it. After persuasion, the situation appeared to be in order.

However, when a few workers started video graphing the proceedings through their cell phones, it was objected to by the other side. After a wordy altercation, the situation turned to be a ‘free for all’ and chairs were hurled and some among them were roughed up by their rivals.

In the melee, the leaders had to leave the party office midway as a posse of police personnel led by DSP Ramesh descended and directed the workers to vacate the place.

According to senior office-bearers, two workers identified as Balamurugan (33) of Vayakottai (a supporter of K. R. Ramasamy) and Vinod Kumar (30) of Devakottai (a supporter of MLA Mangudi) were injured and admitted to the Devakottai Government Hospital.

In a brief chat with reporters later, Mr Karti Chidambaram said that it was natural for the party functionaries and workers to ask for tickets prior to elections. “I don’t see anything wrong in airing views, which may differ and need not be in agreement. It only showed that the Congress was alive at the grassroots level,” he added.

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