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CJP merges with Congress

By Our Special Correspondent



P. Chidambaram, leader of the Congress Jananayaka Peravai, with his son, Karthik, submitting a list of his partymen to the Congress president, Sonia Gandhi, at her residence after formally merging his party with the Congress in New Delhi on Thursday. — Photo: S. Subramanium

NEW DELHI, NOV. 25. Seven months after the Finance Minister, P. Chidambaram, joined the Congress, the party he founded, the Congress Jananayaka Peravai (CJP), today formally merged with the Congress.

The formality of carrying forward the CJP's June 5 unanimous resolution on merger was completed at a function at the All India Congress Committee (AICC) headquarters here. It was attended by Mr. Chidambaram, the Union Minister, E.V.K.S. Illangovan, the AICC general secretary, Ambika Soni, in-charge of the party affairs in Tamil Nadu, the State Congress Committee president, G.K. Vasan, the party spokespersons, Girja Vyas and Jayanthi Natarajan, and MPs and party members from the State. Later, they called on the Congress president, Sonia Gandhi, at her 10 Janpath residence, where the Amethi MP, Rahul Gandhi, greeted them as well. Senior leader of the Peravai, M. Kandaswami, and Mr. Chidambaram's son, Kartik, were among those who joined the Congress today.

Welcoming the merger, Ms. Soni said the move would strengthen the party in the State, an opinion echoed by Mr. Vasan.

Mr. Chidambaram said the then AICC general secretary, Kamal Nath, had agreed to the process. Since the elections were due in May, there had not been enough time to go through the motion of the merger, so it was decided that he would join first and rest of the party later.

Mr. Chidambaram said the preoccupation with the budget session and later the Maharashtra Assembly elections had led to the merger being scheduled now. He hoped the TNCC would organise a grand function and invite the party president.

Grand function

Asked whether his party had dropped its stand of remaining equidistant from both the Dravidian parties since the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam was an ally of the Congress, Mr. Chidamabaram said he was a member of the Congress and the question should be addressed to the party.

To a question whether the CJP had by-passed the TNCC in the process, he said the query did not require an answer.

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