Party boasts an impressive track record in the central districts

The stoic silence maintained by the party high command and its failure to rise to the occasion at this critical juncture has caused much resentment among the Congress cadre in the central region of Tamil Nadu.

The party has emerged victorious many times in Tiruchi, Karur, Mayiladuthurai, and Thanjavur constituencies spread over the central districts on many occasions in the past. Now, the Congress men are lying low, not only because the party stands isolated but also the failure of the party high command and the leaders to take steps to salvage the prestige of the party.

Both the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and its arch rival Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam have named their candidates and have launched their campaign. The Bharatiya Janata Party has managed to forge an alliance although with much difficulty.

But all is silent in the Congress camp both in urban and rural areas.

The Congress has won eight times in Mayiladuthurai (1962, 77, 80, 84, 89, 91, 99 and 2004); bagged Karur six times (1957, 62, 71, 77, 80 and 84); Thanjavur six times (1957, 62, 80, 84, 89 and 91) and Tiruchi four times (1957, 84, 89, 91). The Tamil Maanila Congress which broke away from Congress managed to win in Tiruchi, Karur and Mayiladuthurai in 1996.

The former President R. Venkatraman (Thanjavur), former Union Ministers Mani Shankar Aiyar, Maragatham Chandrasekar (Mayiladuthurai) and K. Gopal (Karur), former TNCC president M. Palaniandi (Perambalur) and educationist Thulasiah Vandayar (Thanjavur) were some of the leaders elected from the central region.

Many Congress men blame the party leaders, particularly the union ministers from Tamil Nadu, who failed to effectively counter the attack launched by the AIADMK and some fringe groups against the UPA government for “failing” to protect the interests of Sri Lankan Tamils and fishermen across the Palk Strait.

The leaders should have taken steps to assuage the feelings of fishermen in the central districts of Nagapattinam, Pudukottai and Ramanathapuram. “The Ministers should have regularly met the fishermen representatives and this would have immensely helped us at this hour of crisis”, a senior party functionary says. “ The party has lost much time and it will be too difficult for the local units to rejuvenate the grass root level activists for taking up election work,” he adds.