The Tamil Nadu Congress Committee (TNCC) leadership is on a fire fighting mode to try and persuade several party local leaders who have filed nomination papers against the DMK candidates in the rural local body polls.
After the last date for filing of nominations came to an end, Congressmen have filed nomination papers in many seats much to the chagrin of the state party leadership.
However, district Congress leaders are of the opinion that they were treated badly by the DMK district leaderships and had not provided seats to prominent party leaders including the party district leaders.
In South Tamil Nadu, the DMK had parted with some seats to the Congress as the national party has some strength in the area. The DMK provided 15 per cent of the total seats in Tenkasi district to the Congress but in North Tamil Nadu the grand old party had to be satisfied with 3 per cent to 5 per cent seats.
Districts like Kancheepuram, Chengalpattu, Villupuram, Kallakurichi, Ranipet, Tirupattur, and Villupuram have many Congressmen filing nominations as rebel candidates and state leadership is having an uphill task to persuade these leaders to withdraw their candidature.
The last date of withdrawal of nominations is on September 25.
In Villupuram North, even the party district president was denied a seat by the DMK as the electoral arena is wide open following the powerful Vanniiyar party, Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) walked out of the AIADMK alliance.
The Congress as of Wednesday night will contest 9 of the 140 ward councillor posts in district panchayats and 63 of the 1,381 ward councillor posts in panchayat unions.
The DMK even refused to provide any seat in panchayat unions in Anaikattu, Vellore, and Katpadi to the Congress, and even the former Chairman of Vellore panchayat and popular Congress leader, C.K. Devendran was not given a seat. He has filed the nomination papers on his own and the Congress state leadership is on bargaining mode for this seat with the DMK state leadership.
In the rural local body elections, both the DMK and AIADMK bank heavily on the inputs from their respective district leadership, and the state leadership don’t generally intervene on the candidate list provided by the district leaderships.
R. Padmanabhan, Political analyst and Director, Socio-Economic Development Foundation, a Madurai-based think tank while told IANS, “The DMK district leaders clearly know the strength and weakness of the Congress. If Congress had strength just like they have in Tenkasi district, more seats would have been provided. Unfortunately, Congress is a spent force in several parts of the state and hence this step-motherly treatment.”