In his first reaction to the churnings in Congress' state unit that culminated in Vasan's quitting early this month, Chidambaram said his party was a tree that had roots and can therefore withstand the present situation.

"Congress is not a barren tree. A branch has fallen off the tree, and a fallen branch cannot flourish. Only a tree can survive since it has roots," he said in his address at the celebrations of the 125th birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru here.

Effusive in his praise for Nehru, Chidambaram said the former Prime Minister lived in an era dominated by contemporaries like Mao tse Dong of China, Kamal Abdul Nasser of Egypt or Marshal Tito of Yugoslavia, but he stood out from them due to his democratic credentials.
    
They were authoritarian rulers or leaders who stifled opposition and never encouraged dissent and even promoted single-party rule, but Nehru was not so, Chidambaram said.
    
"He was determined to remain democratic though he could have become autocratic. That freedom even paved the way for someone to even declare to (work for a) Congress-free India," the former Minister said in an apparent reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi who had made it a poll plank.
     
He however said he would not talk about the "present Prime Minister" since the occasion concerned Nehru.