Seniors should face poll battle, Cong men tell high command

| | Updated on: Mar 14, 2014
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A reluctant GK Vasan and P Chidambaram face criticism...There is intense pressure on the Congress high command to push unwilling senior leaders to contest elections in Tamil Nadu.

There is intense pressure on the Congress high command to push unwilling senior leaders to contest elections in Tamil Nadu.

In a letter to Sonia Gandhi, Manicka Tagore, a young MP from Virudhunagar in Tamil Nadu, has demanded that no public or organisational position should be given to leaders who are not willing to contest this time. Besides Tagore, a host of other leaders such as EVKS Elangovan, EM Sudarshana Natchiappan and R Prabhu have conveyed to the party leadership that the upcoming elections can also provide an opportunity to revitalise the organisation in the State, provided senior leaders are willing to put in their share of the spade work.

“We want to raise the emotive issue of the release of Rajiv Gandhi’s killers. The Congress should address people directly on this issue. We need the experience of our leaders especially at a time when the party is on its own,” said a senior state leader.

According to these leaders, the Congress should match the mobilisation by the DMK and the AIADMK and let people feel that it has a credible political presence in Tamil Nadu. “Just as we contest the Lok Sabha, we should fight the upcoming civic election as well as the Assembly elections with all our might. And because we are fighting alone, it will register our presence forcefully in the next five years,” said a leader in this group.

These voices are essentially against senior leaders such as P Chidambaram and GK Vasan, who are reportedly not keen on contesting this time.

Pressure is being mounted on the party high command to insist that these leaders contest. This section consists of leaders who claim that they never deserted the party even at the worst of times, as opposed to Vasan and Chidambaram, who had floated a new party in the 1990s.

They believe the Congress still stands a chance. “In 13 constituencies between Kanyakumari and Krishnagiri we have a chance. If we have apt candidates, we will get an average of 15 per cent in these 13 constituencies,” a senior leader, who had met both Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, told Business Line .

There is huge resentment against the reported proposal to give ticket to Karti Chidambaram from Sivaganga constituency.

A section of Congress leaders has told the high command that the seat should ideally go to Natchiappan, who had defeated Chidambaram in 1999 as a Congress candidate.

Published on March 14, 2014

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