National » Tamil Nadu

Updated: February 23, 2011 03:12 IST

DMK's aversion to power-sharing leaves Congress in a dilemma

G. Sathyamoorthi
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TNCC president K.V.Thankgabalu and Deputy Chief Minister M.K.Stalin talking to media after the talks on seat sharing between DMK and Congress in Chennai on Sunday. Photo:S.R. Raghunathan
TNCC president K.V.Thankgabalu and Deputy Chief Minister M.K.Stalin talking to media after the talks on seat sharing between DMK and Congress in Chennai on Sunday. Photo:S.R. Raghunathan

The Congress is not clear on how to proceed with the seat-sharing talks with the DMK in the event of not being able to reach an agreement on power-sharing. With the DMK leadership averse to the very idea of any prior commitment on the issue, Congress leaders in the State are unsure of what their next step should be.

After having convinced the party high command of the wishes of the cadre for a power-sharing agreement with the DMK, the State unit does not want to go back on its demands for power-sharing, setting up a coordination committee and finalising a common minimum programme.

The DMK, however, wants to put off any decision on these issues until after the elections. According to the DMK leadership, everything will depend on the election results. Any pre-election agreement on these issues may not go down well with the electorate and may be interpreted as a sign of the ruling party's weakness.

A Congress Member of Parliament, on condition of anonymity, says the party is facing a real dilemma — “dharmasangadamana nilamai.” According to him, Chief Minister and DMK president M. Karunanidhi is averse to power-sharing. “Though he may even be willing to part with a few more seats, over and above the 48 offered during the talks on Sunday, he is opposed to the very concept of power-sharing.”

At the same time, he believes his party holds an upper-hand with the DMK during the seat negotiations, a situation unlike any during the last three decades. Not since 1980 has the Congress managed to strike a hard bargain in the Assembly elections with the two major Dravidian parties. “Now it is for them (the DMK) to placate us and not the other way round,” the MP says, pointing to the spectrum scam in which former Telecom Minister and DMK MP A. Raja is facing charges.

With the Youth Congress virulently against any tie-up with the DMK, the TNCC will be hard pressed to find a face-saving formula without any assurance on power-sharing from Mr. Karunanidhi. “What will our cadre think about us if we fail to get anything from the ruling party on this issue, even though the DMK has been part of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance Government at the Centre for the last six years?”

A senior Congress leader also admits that his party has been “out-manoeuvred by the DMK, which entered into a 31-seat pact with the PMK , “in unseemly haste.”

He questioned the wisdom of announcing the continuance of the alliance with the DMK before finalising the terms of the tie-up for the current elections. Sources close to Tamil Nadu Congress Committee president K.V. Thangkabalu say it was he who raised the issue of power-sharing at a meeting in Tiruchirappalli about two years ago. It was also taken up by former TNCC president E.V.K.S.Elangovan.

“Now the same issue has come to the fore and we don't know how to save our face if the DMK were to reject our plea outright.” Youth Congress sources say AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi is very particular about power-sharing.

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DMK want to share power at Centre. But it shies away sharing power at TN. If a power sharing party is voted to power, it will be more beneficent for TN. Two party system in TN will erode and strong base of both party will erode gradually. Consequent on this, the both party will work towards people more than concentrating on silly politics.

from:  Alexander
Posted on: Mar 2, 2011 at 16:42 IST

MK is a cunning and shrewd politician. He wanted to give seats to PMK which ditched UPA in the last parliament election and aligned with ADMK. By finalising the alliance with PMK, MK wanted to corner congress with the option of less seats. Poor congress fellows thoroughly know the wickedness of MK, but surrender. They should also play politics and throttle MK or align with ADMK

from:  A.Devaraj
Posted on: Feb 25, 2011 at 04:26 IST

Both DMK and AIADMK have provided absolutely corrupt regimes so far. The Congress is no exception. The solution for Tamil Nadu would be to ask Gujarat (outsource) to run the state of Tamil Nadu.

from:  Simhan
Posted on: Feb 24, 2011 at 09:36 IST

Cong can not stand on its own . They will lose very badly not even 5 or 6 MLA seats they can win on their own. DMk is reliable but highly corrupt and their administration is not efficient. Plus they have earned bad name for 2 G, middle class and urban voters total anger against DMK. ADMK also totally corrrupt , unreliable and unpredictable leader. but some what efficient administration which middle class and urban voters want. Cong should try to get more 70 seats from DMK leaving their conditions to be settled after polls. Cong should get more seats in rural areas. leaving city seats to DMK which they will lose. We may see a Cong CM with ADMk and DMDK back up post polls. Very interesting game.

from:  Ravi V
Posted on: Feb 24, 2011 at 06:28 IST

It is better for the people of TN if both Congress and BJP go it alone in the coming assembly elections.

from:  Narayanan S
Posted on: Feb 24, 2011 at 04:49 IST

Tamil Nadu needs a bold, honest, selfless party which will put state and nation above everything. We youth want our country to be corruption free and to see it as a developed nation. So please don't vote for any party that has proved itself to be corrupt in past like AIADMK and present DMK. Vote for any party that gives honest manifesto and not free goodies, time for change.

from:  Sukumar
Posted on: Feb 24, 2011 at 02:20 IST

Congress would do better if it were to go alone this election, no one is happy with current corrupt DMK or AIADMK party, give voters a third option to choose.

from:  Daniel
Posted on: Feb 24, 2011 at 01:57 IST

This is the right time for Congress to make its presence on its own by not joining with the DMK and acting as a supporter and by giving plum posts in the centre. DMK has three Cabinet ministers,4 MOS at the Centre just for 18 MPs.Congree with 34 seats has been forced to give outside support. What a ridiculous thing! UPA Govt won't fall even if DMK withdraws support to the Congress at the Centre.But by joining with the DMK there will be great suspicion that Congress has a major role to play in the 2G scam as also the needle of suspicion will point not on PM but on the Congress President as it is because of her that Raja was made the Telecom minister as demanded by DMK just as for keeping power and the result the PM is in BIG SOUP.So let wisdom prevail on Congress at least now not to join hands with DMK and contest all seats even if they get abt 70 seats it is ok and that will keep the DMK in trouble and Congress can heave a sigh of relief. The more Congress depends on DMK by saying such useless slogans like 'Coalition dharma' and other things Congress will lose everywhere and will never come to power in Tamilnadu. So Sonia has to act fast before Karunanidhi acts in the matter and start campaigning from now onwards on own and a rattled Kalaignar will come to terms with Congress.

from:  Raman
Posted on: Feb 24, 2011 at 01:39 IST

Truth is Congress doesnt have any electoral strength in TN to win assembly seats. It may win few MP seats (as it is National party), but it cannot win even 2 digit assembly seats without support of DMK / ADMK. It can't think of ministrial sharing in TN in case of winning election.

from:  Parthiban R
Posted on: Feb 23, 2011 at 19:54 IST

Its amazing to see how DMK still has the grit after A.Raja has been arrested in 2G scam. If Congress could not able to bargain at this moment, it shows how weak they are in terms of strategic planning

from:  Varadh
Posted on: Feb 23, 2011 at 19:15 IST

DMK must be routed out forever in the state. Tamilnadu has become the property of MK family and no one can refute it. So must be the case with Congress at the centre. These two parties have been looting the public money forever. The Congress is almost like a monopoly in the centre. Look at the plight of the nation even after so many years of independence.

from:  Siva
Posted on: Feb 23, 2011 at 18:44 IST

Congress Youth Leader Rahul Gandhi wish to have his own Party leader for the Tamil Nadu, as chief minister was correct.They should stand alone and prove the majority, which unfortunately has remote chance,because of his Partymen's allegations. Infrastructures like road and Electricity is more essential ,then entertainment like T.V. Tamilnadu needs a revolution,which is in the hands of the people.Ultimately people's verdict is the final.Will that revolution will happen?

from:  K.Ragavan
Posted on: Feb 23, 2011 at 18:29 IST

It is going to be a repeat of seat sharing of last assembly election minus of those of 2 communist parties. Those seats are going to be shared between DMK, Congress and the parties like VCK etc. DMK will form the next government on its own. You people wait and see. Also how come you people arguing that the Congress is not corrupt? Also Congress can never make it alone and cannot be the big-brother of any alliance in Tamil Nadu. This is the ground reality.

from:  Elangovan
Posted on: Feb 23, 2011 at 17:48 IST

This is a very good opportunity presented in front of Congress , though a forceful one, to stabilize its position in TN as an independent one. Hope it would break the post-Kamarajar era of its dependency on DMK/ADMK in gaining the majority in the state. It is in its own hands either to grab the opportunity and present a third alternation to people or to be a parasite forever in the state.

from:  Senthil
Posted on: Feb 23, 2011 at 14:51 IST

One had thought that letting CBI sleuths out on A.Raja was to divert attention from the Prime Minister and his cabinet on the 2G scam. But from the Congress MP's statement it would seem that there is one more objective. The Congress seems to be telling the DMK that if the latter does not strike a deal of the type the former wants on seat sharing in TN elections and power sharing after elections, the Congress-led UPA government would see to it that Raja and the DMK sink in the muddy waters of the 2G spectrum scam. Perhaps the Congress has not realised that the DMK chief is too shrewd a politician to be trifled with.

from:  K.Vijayakumar
Posted on: Feb 23, 2011 at 14:16 IST

Congress can definitely contest the elections alone provided the maximum count in the number of people from Tamil Nadu showing open support to the party and that too continuously for next few years, if any change is to be brought into place. Also Congress should have in place someone in their party who takes care of development in Tamil Nadu on a continuous basis. But another big problem in voting a national party like congress into power at the state level, is the fact that once the elections are over and if they win, they will do an about turn face and won't care a damn thereafter for Tamil Nadu. So the best thing would be for a local non-Dravidan party ( ie. NOT in the likes of TMK, DMK, PMK, ADMK, whatever current ones out there), uncorrupt and formed out of some educated people in it like possibly Subramania Swamy, Cho Ramasamy, SV Sekar, etc party from Tamil Nadu would be a better option. Also one main thing is Tamilnadu people should think and vote. Not vote for some petty amount of money during elections and end up losing big time after elections instead through swindling of money by corrupt politicians. Another issue is its not only the high command of party that is corrupt in Tamilnadu, but lot of people working for them at Taluk and Districts and lower levels too. So people need to be sensible in exercising their vote.

from:  VBS
Posted on: Feb 23, 2011 at 14:13 IST

Time is favouring the Congress with an alliance partner caught in serious scam and CBI continuing to raid and search ex-minister and associates offices and houses. The Congress must go ahead with its demand of power sharing and asking more number of seats to reestablish its base. Party high-command should scrupulously handle this deal carefully.

from:  Raghavendra R Pawar
Posted on: Feb 23, 2011 at 13:40 IST

Your impressive article,DMK'S aversion to power sharing was nice and interesting to read.It is very evident that they are very particular only on power sharing.But as a result of the same power sharing, the Country has arrived at the present huge crisis. This should be remembered by the Govt.

from:  K.Ragavan
Posted on: Feb 23, 2011 at 13:37 IST

What a fix for the electrorates of Tamil Nadu. They are forced to choose between the 'Three Devils'. Congress is proved corrupt at the centre. DMK/AIDMK are already declared corrupt by the various commissions. Ideal will be they choose 'none of these'. The Election Commission should come out with this 'None of These' on the voting machines.

from:  Ashok Gupta
Posted on: Feb 23, 2011 at 13:36 IST

Congress giving a clean government? A crude joke! We have experienced what kind of governance they exercize at the center. It is a crying need of the hour that some well-meaning and corruption-free people in various parties should come out and start a new political party to take on the entrenched interests. It might take a decade or so for the new party to capture power but at least, they could enter the assembly/parliament to influence decision-making that affect the people.

from:  D. Chandramouli
Posted on: Feb 23, 2011 at 13:27 IST

I cannot stop laughing reading the comment - 'Both DMK and ADMK have a history of corruption. Congress should give a clean government.' I am reminded of one old joke by Cho - This hand is a stainless hand. Probably this article is intended to give a soothing hand to ADMK!

from:  Rajesh
Posted on: Feb 23, 2011 at 13:19 IST

Based on conscience Congress should simply come out of the sin alliance with DMK and go with thier natural partner AIADMK. In one stroke people can get rid off DMK and PMK.

from:  Rajagopalan
Posted on: Feb 23, 2011 at 13:13 IST

It is right time that the Congress comes out of DMK alliance in Tamilnadu and face the election on its own with alliance with other like minded parties ( possibly with Vijayakanth ).Even if they lose the elections , they can build a stronger foundation for the future to maintain its identity - What is the point in supporting a party who is not willing to share power?

from:  Jeyapaul
Posted on: Feb 23, 2011 at 12:41 IST

Even if Congress loose seats heavily, the time has come for all true Congresmen in Tamil Nadu to come together and meet the electorate and stand a single party against DMK and also against AADMK,so that the people of Tamil Nadu may prefer a change for good,and vote for Congress party, being the Party in Power at the centre and this is the best opportunity for Congress also to come to power in Tamilnad,if not now ,but surely at the next general election.

from:  Vaidya
Posted on: Feb 23, 2011 at 12:29 IST

Congress appears to be unrealistic about the ground realities. With many issues like 2G, Adarsh, CWG,etc having eroded the credit-worthiness of the ruling combine, especially the Congress, it is a big mistake on its part to prolong the issue of seat sharing and finalisation of alliance in Tamil Nadu. It is equivalent to throwing mud in one's one head. Rahul Gandhi and a few Congressmen in Tamil nadu cannot change the prevailing situation. Even experienced and Senior Congressmen from Tamilnadu remain fractured and but for the solid support of the DMK, Congress leadership in Delhi could not have done many things. Had it been AIADMK, by now the Congress would have been toppled from power. Even Indira Gandhi had gone on record that DMK is a dependble party which name many have not won in politics. There are always the so called leaders in Tamilnadu Congress who are affiliated to one or the other of the Dravidian Parties and if one succeeds in one point, the other will pull the rug. Trusting these people, the Central leadership cannot do anything. If the Central and State Leadership are bent upon respecting the views of the rank and file and so keen on power sharing, let them come out openly saying that there will be no alliance if DMK does not agree to powersharing. Then Rahul can come and do the electioneering and make the Congress sweep the polls and form Congress Govt. in Tamil Nadu. Further, if DMK does not agree for power sharing, even Jayalalitha may agree for the same repudiating her alliance with the Communists and other parties and try to cause sleepless nights from day one for Sonia and every national leader while the State Congress leaders can bask in the uncertainties protecting their own ill-gotten wealth like any other politician.Big question mark is whether Sonia can afford these?

from:  Pillai
Posted on: Feb 23, 2011 at 11:57 IST

Better go alone. That way you can save face and give the DMK and Mr.MK a lesson.People are fed up with the corrupt Dravidan parties.

from:  Shah
Posted on: Feb 23, 2011 at 11:56 IST

Where is the question of power sharing when the alliance is going to be routed in the polls? MK is a smart politician and a strategist and he himself believes that The DMK should put off any decision on these issues until after the elections. According to the DMK leadership, everything will depend on the election results. The election results wouldn't call for power sharing talks but an exit of the DMK in May 2011. An fair trial by the CBI under the SC only strengthens my argument. Subsequent mid term Lok Sabha polls sounds better for the country.

from:  Rajesh
Posted on: Feb 23, 2011 at 11:10 IST

Congress by aligning with DMK is giving the impression that 2g is limited to Raja. However the impression among the people is that it extends to powerful politicians in Chennai and Delhi. If congress wishes to prove that corruption charges are limited to DMK and it has nothing to do with it,it should walk out of the alliance and take leadership of a third front. If DMK does not agree to power sharing and Congress accepts few additional seats, the impression that they are partners in the loot will sustain.A golden opportunity for Congress to lead a third front is now.

from:  Sankar
Posted on: Feb 23, 2011 at 11:09 IST

Why not? DMK has to accede to the request.When DMK wants something to share at the Centre and getting them at will, why not the Congress do the same in Tamil Nadu? Now or never.Irrespective of whether DMK will come to power or not it is safe for them to agree to the reaquest.

from:  T S Sankar Raman
Posted on: Feb 23, 2011 at 10:58 IST

This writer is no admirer of regional parties. Nevertheless the way the Congress is behaving with the regional formations, is indicative of its ultra-Machiavellian approach devoid of minimum ethics. If in the case of DMK, it is trying to use the latter's recent discomfiture to drive a hard bargain enabling it to get at least partial control of the government if and when the Congress-DMK alliance wins majority seats- a distant dream, it is doing much the same vis-a vis the Trinamul Congress. It is sad to notice the plight of the Railway Minister belonging to Trinamul Congress reported in the media - beseeching both the Planning Commission and the Union Finance Minister to permit her to announce several projects for West Bengal and North East States. It is an established practice of railway ministers of independent India to bestow greater benefits to their own region. But it would be wrong in national interests to view her projects for West Bengal and NE States from the narrow prism of party politics which is what UPA is doing. What are the projects Mamata Banerjee is advocating. More durantos for the region- one that will help the rail users to face the exploiting airlines. Her projects in the border areas is a correct prescription for the announced plans of China to lay roads and rail lines up to our own borders. If Mamata Banerjee wants to lay multimodal transport system in an area of 100 miles around Hyderabad-Secunderabad- a peanut compared to China connecting seven already big cities to provide for a new giant city-unnamed one yet- of 42 million population laying 23 new rail lines of 3100 miles, why shouldn't our Railway Minister at least put, if not a commensurate giant mega city with attendant transport systems, why should FM and PC grudge? May be Mamta Banerjee will fail to get the blessings of the Finance Minister and planning commission bosses before the railway budget due in a few days but she has already struck a favourable chord among the people.IN both these cases DMK and Trinamul Congress - the UPA is certainly using its bargaining power to benefit in its political fortunes. There is a danger that it is overdoing and instead of the 5-0 goals tally in the several forthcoming assembly elections, it may get a 0-5 goal tally!

from:  S Subramanyan
Posted on: Feb 23, 2011 at 10:40 IST

Both party workers are not trusting each other and Congress will suffer more than DMK in the coming assembly election

from:  Krishnan
Posted on: Feb 23, 2011 at 10:27 IST

The best thing for the congress is to tie up with vijaykanth party. Still with dmk they will loose their name and fame.

from:  P. Kishore
Posted on: Feb 23, 2011 at 10:08 IST

Congress should go alone in Tamil Nadu. Both DMK and ADMK have a history of corruption. Congress should give a clean government.

from:  VJ Xavier
Posted on: Feb 23, 2011 at 09:17 IST

Cheap gimmicks by politicians such as giving TV and money to voters which is common in Tamil Nadu is not going to bring in votes for the politicians. The middle class community is very much dissatisfied by the rampant corruption and the inconveniences caused due to corrupt and uneducated politicians and government workers in the state. The amount of corruption is evident from the 2G scam. Tamil Nadu has been continuously destroyed by the corrupt parties over the years. Congress should contest the election on its own without any power sharing.

from:  Santhi
Posted on: Feb 23, 2011 at 08:17 IST

It is a masterstroke by the DMK. Congress has no option but to accept this. They should have made the moves at least one year before the election. Now there is no way the Congress could get what it needs. They will get around 75 seats of which they can win around 30. So the Congress while giving so many Central posts to DMK will get nil in return. The only way for Congress is to bargain for seats and make sure they loose most of those to the ADMK. Sometimes you need to loose the battle to win the war..

from:  S Kannan
Posted on: Feb 23, 2011 at 07:54 IST

It is a great dilemma - 'dharmasangadamana nilamai.' for not only TN congress party ,but also for the people of TN. The TN congress should come out of the coalition with the corruption-loaded DMK and contest the elections alone. TN Congress should start building up the party, following the principles and policies of great leader Kamaraj. The youth congress which is against the DMK alliance, should begin now to develop good leadership, character and unselfish service for the country.

from:  Ken Sundaram
Posted on: Feb 23, 2011 at 07:03 IST
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