Mr. Thangkabalu, facing flak from various factions in the party for the choice of some candidates, himself had lost to AIADMK’s R. Rajalakshmi in Mylapore.
Tamil Nadu Congress Committee president K.V.Thangkabalu on Saturday announced that he would tender his resignation accepting moral responsibility for the drubbing the party received at the hustings.
The party could secure only five of the 63 seats it contested, one of the worst-ever performances since 1952.
Addressing a crowded press conference, Mr.Thangkabalu said he had taken the decision (of quitting the party post) on his own and there was no pressure from any quarter. “It is my personal decision and I am not the type to run away just because of a few disgruntled elements in the party.”
He asserted that the party would look at the results as “just a routine pattern” because “the people of Tamil Nadu want a change of government every five years. We believe that the people have given their mandate now only on that basis. Hence, there is nothing much to be read into it.”
Citing the earlier debacles of both the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), which could win only two seats in the 1991 Assembly elections and also the Bharatiya Janata Party that could manage just two seats in the1984 Lok Sabha polls, Mr.Thangkabalu asserted, “When they can bounce back, why can't we? You cannot write us off. Congress is a formidable force to reckon with and it is the third largest formation in Tamil Nadu.”
At the same time, he pointed out that the same alliance had an excellent show in the 2009 elections to the Lok Sabha. “Hence, now we realise that the people take different stands for the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls.”
He said while he would accept the people's verdict gracefully, he would also like to congratulate the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, which was set to form government.
Despite persistent probing questions by mediapersons, he declined to identify any single reason or blame any single party for the debacle. All that he would say was “the Congress alone need not take the entire responsibility (for the defeat) and there have been a number of parties in the alliance. Besides, we were not the leader of the alliance.” He chose to add that the tie-up with the DMK would continue despite the Assembly results.
When pointed out that Union Home Minister P.Chidambaram himself had conceded that the issue of “corruption” had an impact on the Tamil Nadu elections, Mr.Thangkabalu admitted, “There are a number of reasons for our defeat and corruption could be one among them.” He announced that a committee would be constituted by the TNCC to examine the factors responsible for such a poor show by the party.
“Though I would very much want every party to contest alone, it is not possible due to certain circumstances.” He explained that as a national party which was keen on giving a “secular and good government at the centre,” the Congress had to adopt different strategies in different States. “It is because of the big picture (national level) that the State president cannot take any decision on the alliance,” he added.
He also made it a point to observe that he had always tried to put an end to the “factional squabbles” within the organisation and would strengthen the hands of the new State unit president.