Alagiri under pressure to snap ties with DMK

Tamil Nadu Congress Committee president KS Alagiri is facing a lot of heat from the district presidents ahead of the local body elections. Several district bosses are putting pressure on their state party president to either register their disgruntlement with ally DMK leadership or snap the ties altogether.
KS Alagiri
KS Alagiri

Chennai

Unsurprisingly, the pressure was largely due to lack of bonhomie between Congress and DMK functionaries in many districts. The Congress district presidents, party sources revealed, have repeatedly complainedabout DMK men filing nomination in seats allotted to Congress.

In Kanniyakumari, Krishnagiri and Namakkal, the district Congress chiefs have publicly declared that there was no poll pact with the Dravidian major. “In many seats, our functionaries expected DMK men to withdraw nominations, which they did not do. Now, they are fighting our party men in the wards. Where is alliance dharma or poll pact in this?” argued a Congress leader who did not wish to be named.

“If this is how they would treat us in rural local bodies, we cannot expect much from DMK in urban local bodies, which would be even more tough. Attempts to iron out differences locally failed. DMK district secretaries have categorically told us that they can control party functionaries only to an extent. They refused to prevail over party functionaries filing nomination in seats allotted to us,” said a Congress functionary in Kongu region. “Local body elections are directly related to the cadre. You cannot ask lower level functionaries to limit their aspiration. More than disappointing them personally, it will affect the moral of the party foot soldiers directly. We can restrict them only to an extent,” a DMK district level officer bearer reasoned. “Leaders of both parties are aware of the disaffection over local body election nominations. That is why Alagiri brushed it aside as a local issue,” the DMK leader added.

The remark of a DMK senior could not be dismissed as innocuous going by the TNCC chief’s justification last week that in some places, Congress got the seats it desired, in some places, it did not. “It must be solved locally. It has no bearing on the leadership. It is not for the leadership to intervene in such matters,” Alagiri had remarked, when asked about negotiations between the allies failing in many districts.

The discord should come as no surprise to the Congressmen if one were to recall the earlier statement of senior DMK district secretary KN Nehru, who had wondered how long they should allow the national party to ride piggyback on them. That a former district president lost his post in the Congress for daring the DMK on civic polls earlythis year should explain the predicament of the Congress, which neither wants to take up the matter with the DMK nor rub the allyon the wrong side.

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