Overcoming hurdles, TMC pedals into fifth year
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.”