[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]he Grand Old Party of India is at the mercy of 93-year-old Muthuvel Karunanidhi, the DMK chief, for its survival in Tamil Nadu. Outwardly it may look as if the DMK and the Congress are natural allies. Karunanidhi waxes eloquent when he speaks about Congress, Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi. What has happened is that the DMK, especially Karunanidhi, has used the Congress as a milch cow and has extracted maximum financial and political mileage from its alliance.
The Congress, which ruled Tamil Nadu all alone till 1967, was evicted from Fort Saint George (Tamil Nadu’s Secretariat) in the 1967 assembly elections. Since 1967 they have been in political wilderness struggling hard to survive in the State. Since the formation of the AIADMK by late MGR following his expulsion from the DMK, the Congress began losing its hold and cadre to the AIADMK and other fringe elements. It has a lot to do with the divide and rule policy pursued by the Congress High Command.
“There are more groups in Tamil Nadu Congress than its leaders,”
– N K Kalyanasundaram, chronicler of Chennai’s political history
Since the days of the freedom struggle, the Congress could boast of a number of satraps in Tamil Nadu. K Kamaraj, R Venkataraman, Satyamoorthy, C Subramanian, are some of the chieftians from Tamil Nadu who played a major role in national politics. G K Moopanar was the last leader belonging to that lineage. “The modern day in Tamil Nadu is a motley crowd of power seekers, self- seekers, wheeler dealers and power brokers who have made it to the top only because of their ‘suitcase-ability’ than their suitability,” Late Sundaram, who quit the Indian Administrative Service at the ripe age of 42 had written in one of his famous essays.
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]A[/dropcap] party which ruled Tamil Nadu from 1947 to 1967 was totally discarded during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. The DMK taught the Congress leadership a lesson and showed them who calls the shots in Tamil Nadu. In 2011, at the peak of the 2G Spectrum Scam, the Congress had forced the DMK to part with 63 assembly constituencies for it to contest. The result was disastrous with Congress managing to win a mere five seats. By 2015, the remnants of the Congress split again with G K Vasan, son of G K Moopanar walking away from the Congess disgusted with the way the mother-son duo in New Delhi treats the party leaders in Tamil Nadu.
Even the top leaders in Tamil Nadu, which include Tamil Nadu Congress Committee (TNCC) chief EVKS Elangovan, former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram, former Union Ministers Mani Shankar Aiyer, K V Thangabalu, R Prabhu and former TNCC chief Krishnaswamy would not be able to correctly explain the number of groups in the party in Tamil Nadu. “There are more groups in Tamil Nadu Congress than its leaders,” said N K Kalyanasundaram, chronicler of Chennai’s political history. Senior leaders who have been entrusted with the selection of party candidates have been threatened by a father-son duo from Sivaganga, not to interview prospective candidates. The father claims he is the most intelligent person in the world. Another Senior BJP Leader from Tamil Nadu, may beg to differ.
Adding insult to the injury, last few months saw Vijayadharini, the president of Mahila Congress, filing a criminal case against TNCC chief for verbally abusing her. A staff member of the TNCC headquarter complained against the TNCC chief for making disgraceful comments. There was a time when the Dravidian parties vied with each other for the hands of the Congress. Not any more. The party which played a significant role in India’s freedom movement and agitation is unheard of in Tamil Nadu.
The Indian National Congress (INC) may have to sweat a lot to stage a reasonable come back. It does not have an orientation of itself and is struggling to get a foothold in the State. Last heard, the DMK was willing to offer it 35 seats. “Take it or Leave it”, seem to be the last words of the DMK towards the INC.
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