Cong ruse on TN local body seat-sharing keeps DMK unhappy

Ahead of the indirect elections, Alagiri, issued a statement saying the DMK had erred on ‘coalition dharma.’

The results of the recently concluded local body elections in Tamil Nadu has apparently soured the DMK-Congress alliance in the state.

The DMK camp has been happy of its performance in the polls, faring better than the ruling AIADMK. But party allies, except the CPI, seem to be upset.

The polls to rural bodies were conducted after a delay of three years, on December 27 and 30. After this, on January 11, indirect elections were held to elect heads for district and union panchayats.

Ahead of the indirect elections, K.S. Alagiri, president, Tamil Nadu Congress Committee (TNCC), issued a statement saying the DMK had erred on ‘coalition dharma.’

“From the start, both the parties had agreed to decide on seat-sharing at the district level, without any formal agreement. But the district-level leaders of DMK showed no interest in the matter and we did not get any cooperation from them,” he said.

He said the DMK district-level leaders were not ready to share seats even after being instructed so by their chief.

“Out of 303 union panchayats, the DMK allocated only two seats to us. Out of 27 district panchayats, the DMK did not allocate even a single district president or vice-president post to us,” he said in the statement.

When the results of the indirect elections were out, the Congress had to contend with two district vice-president posts in district panchayats, eight in union panchayat, and five councillor posts.

Alagiri’s statement reportedly upset the DMK leadership and it did not participate in the Opposition party meeting organised by the Congress in Delhi. However, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) took part.

Four days after the statement, Alagiri, addressing the media in New Delhi, said the Congress and the DMK were like a family and differences of opinion was only natural. “It is natural for a family to have disputes and then come together. Differences of opinion between parties in a coalition is common,” he said.

Addressing the media in Chennai, DMK leader T.R. Baalu said it was to be seen if the DMK-Congress alliance would continue. When asked about the turn of events, a Congress spokesperson, on condition of anonymity, said the DMK should adopt a give-and-take police in state politics.

“Both the parties need each other. There is nothing wrong in thinking that their party should perform well in the elections. But in a coalition, there should be a comradeship. The state parties should be magnanimous,” he said.

For the Congress, Parliament is important and for the DMK, Assembly. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress had given some of its strongholds to the DMK, he said.

“The Congress and the DMK should work together for the nation’s interest as both parties respect secular values. So, when the DMK is not following the alliance code, we feel sad. It is natural for a leader to express that,” he added.

A senior DMK functionary said the reason behind the Congress’ statement was the seat-sharing arrangement in local body elections.

“That is the only reason. We hope there is no other reason for the Congress to issue such a statement. The DMK is focusing on the upcoming state polls. At the all-India level, the onus of keeping the allies happy is on the Congress,” he said.