Friendless Congress faces rout in Tamil Nadu
Posted on Mar 07 2014 | IANS
By Venkatachari Jagannathan, Chennai, March 7 : Seemingly friendless in Tamil Nadu to fight the general election, Congress leaders do not agree that the party is politically isolated in the state as of now.
"It is not right to say the party is politically isolated. The party high command is still holding talks with several prospective allies," Gnanadesikan told IANS.
Declining to name the parties with which the Congress high command is holding parlays - DMDK or PMK -Gnanadesikan said only one possible ally (DMK) has concluded a pre-poll alliance in Tamil Nadu.
Interestingly the DMDK and the PMK are being wooed by the BJP as well. Political watchers here expect the former to go along with the BJP.
"Talks are continuing with the DMDK and the PMK. The major hitch seems to be overlapping of constituencies demanded by the DMDK and the PMK. The PMK has already declared the candidate names for 10 seats," a BJP leader told IANS preferring anonymity.
The BJP is actively wooing the DMDK, said to have a 10 percent vote share in the state. The PMK is reported to be upset at the importance given to the DMDK floated by actor-turned-politician A.Vijayakant.
Tamil Nadu is crucial for the Congress as the party is expected to do badly in Andhra Pradesh that sends 42 members to the Lok Sabha due to the Telangana and the anti-incumbency factors.
There are 130 seats at stake in the four southern states and the union territory of Puducherry - Andhra Pradesh 42, Karnataka 28, Kerala 20, Tamil Nadu 39 and Puducherry 1.
Of these, the Congress currently holds 61 seats - Andhra Pradesh-30, Karnataka-9, Kerala-13, Tamil Nadu-8 and Puducherry-1.
The Congress seems to be facing a rout in the April general elections, say analysts.
Even the party's leading lights are expected to bite the dust at the hustings as its own vote share is just around five percent far behind the AIADMK, the DMK, the DMDK and a couple of others.
The Congress was able to send its members to the Lok Sabha piggy backing on AIADMK or DMK parties for a long time.
The Congress has a daunting task ahead as it faces a multi-pronged attack. The possibility of the party losing even the deposit in the seats it is contesting is also not ruled out as all the opposition would come out charging the centre with failure to curb price rise, hike in oil prices, inflation and other issues.
Already rumours are going around that a leading light of the Congress is scouting for a safe seat outside Tamil Nadu. Even during the last election he just scraped through.
AIADMK general secretary and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J.Jayalalithaa has already begun her blistering attack on the economic, foreign and defence policies of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the centre.
The DMK which came out of the UPA government last year over the Sri Lankan Tamils issue will soon start training its guns at the Congress after finalising its poll manifesto and list of contesting candidates.
A long time ally, DMK was cut up with the Congress after it was forced to part with over 60 seats to the latter in the 2011 assembly polls. The Congress was able to win only five.
Even prior to the assembly elections there was simmering discontentment within the DMK tying up with Congress. The reason was chargesheeting of the DMK's A.Raja and Kanimozhi, daughter of party president M.Karunanidhi, as conspirators in the 2G spectrum allocation scandal.
The only flicker of hope for the Congress to tie up with DMK was when it supported Kanimozhi's reelection to the Rajya Sabha last year. The DMK however threw out the Congress like a curry leaf on the plate.
(Venkatachari Jagannathan can be contacted at v.jagannathan @ians.in)