Be it the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam or the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, the Congress or the Bharatiya Janata Party, one factor seems to be common to them — groupism. This is threatening all candidates more than their opponents in the electoral battle.

Four days ago, while speaking at a Congress workers’ meeting in Madurai, a self-appointed leader failed to acknowledge the name of G.K. Vasan. This prompted Vasan loyalists to protest. For the next few minutes, the meeting venue turned into a war zone as the cadres hurled plastic chairs at the dais. Finally, police had to rush in.

To avoid media attention, the candidate’s core team made an appeal to the cadres to remain calm. Only after the speaker mentioned Mr. Vasan’s name, the “spirited” cadres sat on their seats.

In the AIADMK, this problem seems to be more pronounced.

Though the functionaries claim that they are together under their only leader, “Amma”, the cadres and middle-level functionaries like councillors and ward secretaries are divided.

While Mayor V.V. Rajan Chellappa has enough clout over a few MLAs and councillors, Minister ‘Sellur’ K. Raju has a bigger line of followers.

Putting up with these factors and sporting a smile is party candidate R. Gopalakrishnan. He never utters a word about these issues. All that he keeps telling reporters is: “Amma...Amma...and Amma”.

Groupism is worse in the DMK, as the cadres say they have to first fight M.K. Alagiri factor. Though nobody has any clue as to how much damage will it do for the candidate, the functionaries repeatedly tell DMK candidate Velusamy that it is not right to contest the election when the feud in the party’s first family is at its worst.

Though the winning chances of the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam are bleak, the intra-party differences and factions among the National Democratic Alliance partners are posing a bigger threat to candidate D. Sivamuthukumar.

The CPI (M) has fielded B. Vikraman, who has a good knowledge about the constituency and the electorate, but unfortunately, resource crunch and a weak alliance cast a shadow over the party.

A sociology professor in Madurai Kamaraj University says groupism exists everywhere and political parties are no exception. Citing ego as a major reason for it, he says writing anonymous petitions about the functionaries within the party leads to intra-party rivalry. “When party high command takes action, it results in permanent enmity,” he adds.

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