On my return journey from Palani, someone gave me at one of the halts a letter reviling Shri Rajaji and Shri Gopalaswami (N. Gopalaswami Iyengar, Chairman, Jubilee Celebration Committee of the Dakshina Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha, Madras) , and informing me that they would not allow anyone against them to come near me. Now I know to the contrary. No one who wanted to say anything worth-while could be prevented from seeing me or writing to me. The delivery of the very letter disproves the allegation. Shri Kamaraja Nadar was with me on the same special. He was with me in the Temple on the Palani Hill. But there is no doubt that both Rajaji and Gopalaswami were closest to me during the journey. They had arranged it. Rajaji is one of my oldest friends and was known to be the best exponent in word and deed of all I stand for. That, in 1942, he differed (On the issue of demand for Pakistan, Rajagopalachari, resigned from the Congress Party on July 15, 1942) from me, I know. All honour for the boldness with which he publicly avowed the difference. He is a great social reformer, never afraid to act according to his belief. His political wisdom and integrity are beyond question. I was, therefore, pained to find a clique against him. It is a clique that evidently counts in the official Congress in Madras. But the masses are devoted to Rajaji. I am neither vain nor foolish enough to feel that I could have had the huge public demonstratations all along the route of the pilgrimage, if he had no influence with the masses in Tamil Nadu. Congressmen in the South will act as they think best. But I would be less than loyal to the organization, if I did not warn them against losing the valuable services which no one can shoulder as Rajaji can at the present moment.
En route TO WARDHA, February 5, 1946
KAMARAJ’S STATEMENT (“About Rajaji”, 15-2-1946 & “Interview to The Hindu ”, on or before 16-2-1946)
After Gandhiji’s recent article, I feel that I can do nothing else than resign from the Parliamentary Board because all this conflict has come about only on account of the parliamentary programme. Yesterday the Parliamentary Board met, as already arranged. But meanwhile Gandhiji’s article appeared. That needed serious attention. So I adjourned the Board meeting, so that I may consider Gandhiji’s statement. It came as a shock to me.
I am the official head of the Tamil Nadu Congress. According to the Constitution, I nominated the Working Committee. Therefore Gandhiji’s reference can only be applicable to me. I have paid my respects to Gandhiji in person, and have been in his calling distance in Madras and during his Tamil Nadu tour. So have been many of the other members of our Working Committee. It pains me much that Gandhiji did not talk to us anything about the Tamil Nadu Congress affairs while here.His use of the word “clique” affects me deeply.
Neither I nor my colleagues believe in the parliamentary programme except as a means to further the country’s struggle for freedom. I had made my position clear on dozens of platforms since my release. At any rate I am no aspirer to any kind of office under the parliamentary activities.
As for the public agitation against Rajaji, it is only the reaction among Congressmen and the public to Rajaji’s action and his speeches since his Pakistan resolution and resignation from the Congress. But, after Gandhiji’s recent article, I feel that I can do nothing else than resign from the Parliamentary Board, because all this conflict has come about only on account of the parliamentary programme.
My four colleagues, Messrs T. S. Avinashilingam, C. N. Muthuranga Mudaliar, O. P. Ramaswamy Reddiar and Mrs. Rukmani Lakshmipathy felt compelled to quit also. I have persuaded them to remain for the very simple reason that the short time available for the election work ahead could not admit of such wholesale resignations. I thank them for the spirit in which they have agreed to continue on the Board. They would certainly have been within their rights, if they had followed my example. But they and I do not want to disturb the election work.
For my part, I cannot but quit. For 20 years Gandhiji has been the leader whom I have unswerving followed and my faith in him continues unabated. That I should occasion him pain drives me to take the action I have decided to take. I assure everybody concerned that every decision taken by the Board here or at the centre will command my whole-hearted acceptances.
February 13, 1946
Mahatma Gandhi, who had declared more than once that he had nothing to do with Parliamentary politics and that he was not interested in anyone particularly, was led into a serious error when he characterized the official Tamil Nadu Congress as a “clique”.
I feel strongly that Gandhiji should make amends in this matter, and I have every hope he will. Shri Kamaraja Nadar did well in resigning the presidentship of the Tamil Nadu Provincial Parliamentary Board. He fought well over a big constitutional issue until it became impossible for him to continue any further. The Hindustan Times, 13-2-1946 and 14-2-1946
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