The Tamil Nadu assembly elections are a few months away and fissures in DMK-Congress alliance are already becoming visible in the neighbouring union territory of Puducherry. Senior DMK leader S Jagathrakshakan said that the party will contest on all 30 assembly seats of Puducherry assembly alone and added, “If we fail (to win polls), I will commit suicide on this stage.”
The Congress party is running the Puducherry government in alliance with the DMK because it is short of a majority. In the 30 seats of the assembly that go for polls, Congress won 14 in the last election while DMK won 3 and both parties came together to form the government.
If the DMK decides to pull out the support, the Congress-DMK alliance government would fall months before the election (expected to be held by May this year) and V Narayanasamy will have to resign from the CM chair.
S Jagathrakshakan, the senior party leader and probable CM candidate, is confident that he will gain the upper hand in the upcoming assembly election if DMK comes to power in the state.
The issues between DMK-Congress started coming out in open when the grand old party performed badly in the 2019 general election but won almost all the seats in Tamil Nadu, thanks to its alliance with DMK. Many DMK leaders questioned the ability of the Congress to win votes and started seeing it as baggage.
The Congress party in Tamil Nadu is dominated by the Chidambaram family, which is known for hard bargaining tactics but enjoys no popularity among the people of the state. The M K Stalin-led UPA won 38 seats out of the 39 in Tamil Nadu in the 2019 assembly election.
Moreover, the Congress party in the state was further weakened in the last few months because many of its leaders including the senior ones like Khusboo Sundar joined BJP to stay relevant.
The Congress party has thus become a liability for many regional parties, contributing to their loss. For example, among the primary reasons of the RJD-led Grand Alliance’s loss in Bihar, was the poor tally of Congress which won less than 20 seats out of 70 it contested. Even the Communist parties have better strike rates compared to Congress and therefore many regional parties and their leaders have started questioning their alliance with the Congress party.
In Kerala, the Kerala Congress left the Congress-led United Democratic Front during the last local body elections due to increasing tilt of the party towards the Muslims league. The Christian votes shifted to the Left Democratic Front and this resulted in a humiliating loss for the UDF in the 2020 local body elections.
The leaders of the regional parties do not want to ally with Congress because the central leadership of the party cannot bring votes like Prime Minister Modi. Even the regional leaders like Narayanasamy or Chidambaram are too ineffective in fetching votes. These leaders are not popular enough to win votes on their own and thus they become baggage for their alliance partners.
This is what is happening in Puducherry and the result will the end of the Congress-DMK alliance. “Even Narayanasamy hoped he could talk and resolve any problem through Stalin. But Jagathrakshagan was adamant. We have only three seats in Puducherry now. The leadership is told that more than five or six winnable candidates will join DMK from other parties before polls to capture power. We will wait and see,” said a senior DMK leader.
The effect of Puducherry will be seen in Tamil Nadu and by the time the state goes into the election, even Stalin might cut the baggage of Congress.