Sunday, May 25, 2003
Front Page |
Southern States |
Other States |
Advts: Classifieds | Employment |
By V. Jayanth
The composition of the 11-member committee has once again left various groups in the TNCC `dissatisfied'. As the general secretary in-charge of Tamil Nadu, Kamal Nath, will be convening a meeting anytime the committee should meet, most of the members may be forced to attend it. Otherwise, it may be a repeat of earlier exercises.
Leaders are used to a reshuffle of the State executive or a revamp of its office-bearers every time there is a change in the AICC set up. With Mr. Kamal Nath taking charge of the State from Ramesh Chennithala, a new committee a kind of apex set up for the TNCC has been set up. Since all the other fora in the TNCC are considered "unwieldy", the AICC has hit upon the idea of a steering committee to provide an overall direction to the party affairs here.
Used as the various factions are to what they consider as "proportional representation" for the different groups, the composition came as a surprise. Mr. Kamal Nath has adopted different criteria for choosing its members: the president and the working president, the two AICC secretaries from the State, the CLP leader, former PCC chiefs and the former Union Ministers from here. As such, they do not conform to a known pattern or formula.
Perhaps the unhappiest group seems to be the erstwhile Tamil Maanila Congress, which merged last year with the parent party. Though at least three, if not four, prominent leaders from the TMC are in the new body, there is a feeling that they are still "under-represented". But apparently, the high command has made up its mind to stick to the announced number, as an unwieldy group may make it difficult to transact business.
Though the Congress may be more preoccupied with the upcoming elections to some key State Assemblies, including Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, the AICC is also expected to launch preparations for the next year's parliamentary elections. It is in this context that the steering committee assumes significance, because key decisions will be discussed there, once the high command lays down the framework for alliances and seat adjustments.
There is no agreement within the TNCC on what line the party should take. Despite the general clamour for `restoration of Kamaraj rule' and the `go it alone' policy, party seniors advocate a "more practical and pragmatic" approach to the all-important elections. For over two decades, the Congress here has been used to riding piggyback on one of the two Dravidian parties: the AIADMK or the DMK. Attempts to go it alone by both the undivided Congress and then the TMC proved disastrous, they point out. And whenever they went with a regional party, it was with a "mutually beneficial understanding", party sources argue.
According to a calculation worked out by some of the functionaries here, the Congress' votebank, which was as high as 41.38 per cent even in the 1967 elections when it lost power, dropped to 17.51 per cent when it contested on its own in the 1977 elections. Again, a unified Congress, under G.K. Moopanar, secured only 20.19 per cent of the votes in the 1989 elections, after contesting on its own.
The argument is that the party needs to tie-up with one of the Dravidian parties to `maximise' the number of seats. The Congress split in 1996 over its alliance with the AIADMK and the TMC was born just on the eve of the polls. By forging an alliance with the DMK, it managed to win 20 seats to the Lok Sabha. Moopanar's experiment at forging a third front in 1998 was another disaster, it is pointed out.
It is in this backdrop that a section of the leaders here advocate an electoral understanding with a regional party even for the 2004 election. If the AIADMK rules itself out, this group has no hesitation in recommending a pact with the DMK, especially in the context of its strained ties with the State BJP.
The steering committee will soon have to discuss its strategy for the future.
The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | The Sportstar | Frontline | The Hindu eBooks | Home |
Copyright © 2003, The
Hindu. Republication or redissemination of the contents of
this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of