interview | k.s. aLAGIRI Tamil Nadu

‘Everyone should know their limits’

COIMBATORE, TAMIL NADU, 28/02/2019:
K.S. Alagiri, President Tamil Nadu Congress Committee.
Photo:S. Siva Saravanan/ The Hindu

COIMBATORE, TAMIL NADU, 28/02/2019: K.S. Alagiri, President Tamil Nadu Congress Committee. Photo:S. Siva Saravanan/ The Hindu   | Photo Credit: S_SIVA SARAVANAN

Won’t tolerate views that risk jeopardising our alliance with DMK, says TNCC chief

Tamil Nadu Congress Committee president K.S. Alagiri is keen on ensuring the continuance of the Congress-DMK alliance for the local body polls. He is not willing to encourage remarks from leaders that risk jeopardising the alliance, as demonstrated by the recent expulsion of the party’s South Chennai district president, Karate Thiagarajan.

In an interview, he underlines that Congress leaders should not exceed their limits while expressing their views. Excerpts:

Various statements have been made by the DMK and the Congress about the alliance. Has this strained the relationship between the two parties?

This is a victorious, strong alliance. There are no differences of opinion. There are parties of multiple ideologies here. All these [outfits] are not a single party, and have various ideologies, but are facing the elections on a secular platform. We have a policy-based tie-up and we don’t have any individual likes or dislikes.

This alliance is not like a 10-seat Lok Sabha or Assembly poll tie-up. This is a tie-up for protecting India’s pluralism, secularism and the belief that all cultures and people should co-exist peacefully. Parties like the BJP and the AIADMK are hoping our alliance falls apart. But we are strong.

What is the Congress’s internal opinion on the local body polls?

The context in which the internal meeting (held more than a week ago) was held is that there are 12,500-plus Panchayats in Tamil Nadu that are fought on independent symbols only, and the Congress should look at fighting for the Panchayat president and other office-bearer posts, and our party’s district presidents should go and campaign for this. They should also look at enrolling more people into the party from all these Panchayats. Where a political symbol is involved, the State unit of the party will take a call on the alliance.

In a rare instance, your central leadership has suspended a district president (Karate Thiagarajan) in Tamil Nadu...

People will prefer a party that has discipline and focus. Speaking whatever comes to mind, expressing such thoughts to the media and criticising the party’s views in public are not acceptable to a leader like me. There definitely is internal party freedom. One can debate as much as they want internally before we take a decision. But after the decision is taken, and an election is fought and potentially won based on that decision, expressing a diametrically opposed view both internally and externally is wrong. That is my position. On this issue, whoever it is…if they cross a line, I will take action.

Everyone should know their limits, including myself. The biggest problem in the Tamil Nadu Congress is people crossing certain limits. I will not tolerate that. Apart from that, I have nothing against anyone in the party.

Is there a problem with factionalism again?

I have seen various leaderships in the party over the years and the problems associated with them. Neither the leaders nor the party gained much from them. Some of them stalled the growth of the party. By working as different factions, the Congress did not grow even a bit here.

I understood that there were only two faces of the party – Kamaraj and Rahul Gandhi. Everyone is my friend, but I won’t accept factionalism as long as I am in this position. If anyone tries to bring in factionalism, I will take strong action against them.

What is the Congress’s position on the Nanguneri Assembly bypoll? The seat was held by the Congress, but DMK leader M.K. Stalin’s son Udhayanidhi has publicly sought the seat for the DMK...

Udhayanidhi has expressed his opinion. But we will talk to his father about that.

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 4:44:16 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/everyone-should-know-their-limits/article28236678.ece

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