Former Tamil Nadu Congress Committee president Tindivanam K. Ramamurthee, who had represented the party in the Assembly, the Legislative Council, the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, died on Sunday. He was 87, and is survived by two daughters and a son.
Ramamurthee had his political roots in S.S. Ramasamy Padayachi’s Tamil Nadu Toilers Party. “He accepted the call of Congress leader Kamaraj and joined the party. He was among the Congress leaders who were elected to the Assembly in 1967 when the DMK captured power,” said R. Rajamohan, Ramamurthee’s son-in-law. He was elected to the Legislative Council in 1978 and served as the leader of the Congress. Ramamurthee was nominated to the Rajya Sabha in 1984 and elected to the Lok Sabha from Tindivanam in 1991.
Though he was close to party stalwart G.K. Moopanar, and remained a powerful leader in the Congress, he did not join the Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC) floated by the former in 1996 in protest against the Congress leadership’s decision to align with the AIADMK. “Moopanar had chosen him as the candidate for the Tindivanam Lok Sabha constituency. But DMK leader Karunanidhi told him that Ramamurthee was unlikely to join the TMC, and he was proved right. Subsequently, the DMK fielded T.G. Venkatraman, a cousin of Ramamurthee, who became a Union Minister,” recalled a senior Congress leader.
He was appointed president of the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee in 1998. But his relationship with the party was always a roller-coaster ride. In 2006, he was expelled from the party after he met AIADMK leader Jayalalithaa and gave an interview to Jaya TV when the Congress was an ally of the DMK. He later floated the Tamizhaga Indira Congress, which was rechristened and registered as the Tamil Nadu Jananayaga Congress, and extended support to the AIADMK. However, Jayalalithaa did not allot any seat to his party in the Assembly election that year. Ramamurthee also had a brief stint in the Nationalist Congress Party of Sharad Pawar, heading the party unit in Tamil Nadu. Later, the unit was dismantled by Mr. Pawar.
Ramamurthee was not very active in politics in the last few years.
Chief Minister M.K. Stalin paid his respects to the leader. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and TNCC president K.S. Alagiri were among those who condoled his death.