Over­com­ing hur­dles, TMC ped­als into fifth year

Sunday Express - - TAMIL NADU - S KUMARESAN

ON Satur­day (De­cem­ber 1), GK Vasan’s Tamil Manila Congress stepped into the fifth year. What is spe­cial about the Congress splin­ter party is that Vasan has man­aged to main­tain his flock to­gether de­spite the party not tast­ing even a sin­gle elec­toral vic­tory.

Po­lit­i­cal ob­servers and party in­sid­ers say main­tain­ing such a huge num­ber of sec­ond line lead­ers, at a time of fre­quent par­ty­hop­ping, is a big achieve­ment.

The worst phase for the party was the 2016 As­sem­bly elec­tions in which it was left with no al­lies at the last mo­ment. It joined the third front, Peo­ple’s Wel­fare Al­liance, just days ahead of the polls. The party lost all the 26 seats it con­tested and the third front it­self col­lapsed soon af­ter it was de­feated. It then ap­peared that the only course left for Vasan was to merge his party with the par­ent Congress, lest should all his men desert him for greener pas­tures. But, ex­cept a few, most of them chose to stay back with.

T Koodalarasan, a jour­nal­ist, said, “GK Moopa­nar (Vasan’s fa­ther who also once led a splin­ter group from Congress) and Vasan’s per­sonal touch with d i s t r i c t - l eve l lead­ers and ground-level cadres and clean im­age of Vasan help the party to sus­tain it­self, even with­out any elec­toral suc­cess.”

When Vasan left Congress and launched TMC in 2014, he had with him a good chunk of Congress work­ers. There were about 15 for­mer MPs and 35 for­mer MLAs among those who chose to join him. Most of them are still with him for the rea­son that they got tick­ets for con­test- ing the par­lia­men­tary and As­sem­bly elec­tions based only on Moopa­nar’s rec­om­men­da­tion.

When queried about why many of them chose to stay with Vasan de­spite the elec­toral fail­ures, T N Ashokan, party head­quar­ters sec­re­tary, said, “He is the only leader in the State who gives pri­or­ity to re­gional is­sues with a na­tional per­spec­tive. He was also one of the union min­is­ters who had a clean record.”

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