Will stay on as TNCC president if the leadership so desires, says Alagiri 

He lists winning 18 of the 25 seats allotted to the party in 2021, inducting close to 400 members into the party general council “on the basis of merit” as some of his significant achievements

Published - February 04, 2023 12:19 am IST - CHENNAI

K.S. Alagiri

K.S. Alagiri | Photo Credit: File photo

Tamil Nadu Congress Committee (TNCC) president K.S. Alagiri, a party veteran of over 50 years, a two-time MLA and a former Cuddalore MP, will complete four years in office on February 4.

Under his leadership, infighting in the party has by and large been limited, and the Congress has tasted significant victories in the 2019 Lok Sabha election and the 2021 Assembly election with better strike rates. Mr. Alagiri’s tenure has been without blemish, except for a minor fracas involving Nanguneri MLA Ruby Manoharan and Karur MP S. Jothimani’s criticism of the leadership ahead of the 2021 Assembly election for lack of transparency in the selection of candidates.

Mr. Alagiri on Friday told The Hindu that he understood the issues that one would face while leading a national party in a particular State.

Asked what he would consider as his significant achievements, he listed winning 18 of the 25 seats allotted to the party in 2021, inducting close to 400 members into the party general council “on the basis of merit” and urging the cadre to the focus on field work.

“I learnt from Moopanar (former TNCC president and Tamil Maanila Congress founder) that one need not contest (or get their family members to contest) while holding a post in the party and instead give others an opportunity to contest. I declined to contest even when the leadership asked me to do so in 2019 and 2021. But victories and losses are not just mine. Also, in the past, most general council members would be those who were close to around 10 leaders in the TNCC. I ensured that around 400 members were made general council members based on their capacity to bring more people to the Congress. It was based on merit,” he said.

With the State unit of the BJP appointing a young leader in K. Annamalai and creating a perception of a party that is growing, guns were trained on the TNCC for sticking to such a senior leader. Mr. Alagiri, who agreed that a younger person would work with more zest and be able to work harder, however, said he had unwaveringly stuck to his ideology — socialism of Jawaharlal Nehru, secularism of Mahatma Gandhi and social justice of Periyar.

He rejected the notion that the BJP had grown in Tamil Nadu. “There is nothing wrong in handing over the baton to a young person. I don’t disagree with it. But I wouldn’t accept that the BJP is growing in Tamil Nadu — it is a myth. They are paper tigers. They have no strength on the ground. Tamil Nadu is a land of social justice. In Erode (East), the DMK asked us to contest and are supporting us. But, look at the confusion in the Opposite camp.”

Would he like to continue as the TNCC president?

“I have never asked the Congress leadership for any post. I have always strived to perform to the best of my abilities whenever I have been assigned a task. If they [the leadership] ask me to stay, I will stay. If they ask me to hand over the baton, I will do so without feeling bad.”

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