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TAMIL NADU

Congress wants to ensure that it gets due share of seats

Thursday 9 February 2006, by VYDHIANATHAN*S

Leaders point out the party has more percentage of vote share than PMK, MDMK

High command may not want to antagonise the DMK, a key ally at the Centre Vasan, Moily have briefed the high command about the party’s strength

CHENNAI: In the absence of any signal from the party high command, the State Congress is in a dilemma.

Unlike the regional parties, it cannot put forth its demands to the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, heading the Democratic Progressive Alliance in the State, without the high command’s nod.

According to party leaders and workers, the high command was not serious about the Assembly elections as it was of the view that it had no major stake. It was confident that the party would get more seats than other constituents of the DPA, and did not want to raise the issue now. Moreover, it might not want to antagonise the DMK, an important coalition party at the Centre, by making huge demands. But Congress leaders fear that if the party failed to stake its claim now, it could be forced to accept less number of seats later. According to them, the Congress had a higher percentage of votes than the Pattali Makkal Katchi and the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.

In the 1977 Assembly elections, major parties contested on their own and the Congress secured 17.5 per cent of the votes and won 23 seats. Again, in 1989 it secured 20.19 per cent of votes and won 26 seats.

On the other hand the PMK, which went alone in 1991 and 1996, secured 5.91 per cent and 7.61 per cent of votes and won one and four seats respectively.

The MDMK, which contested in alliance with the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in 1996, secured 5.79 per cent. In the 2001 Assembly elections, it went alone and secured a meagre 4.65 per cent of votes. On both occasions the party drew a blank, Congress sources point out. When these parties were making tall claims why not the Congress, they ask.

Already, TNCC chief G.K. Vasan and M. Veerappa Moily, in-charge of party affairs in Tamil Nadu, had appraised the high command of the party’s strength in the State. There was little else the State unit could do.

Local leaders and workers are waiting to see whom the central leadership will depute this time to negotiate with the DMK. The TNCC is also conscious of the fact that Kerala and Pondicherry, where the Congress is in power, may be more important for the AICC than Tamil Nadu.

See online : The Hindu

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