Strengthening the Congress is the need of the hour, says Selvaperunthagai

At a party event in Chennai, he says the Congress has its own history and ideology to include everyone within its fold, and it is the right of the party to say that “it will form Kamarajar’s rule”

Updated - June 12, 2024 12:16 am IST

Published - June 12, 2024 12:03 am IST - CHENNAI

TNCC president K. Selvaperunthagai speaking at the All India Congress Committee leaders meeting in Chennai on Tuesday.

TNCC president K. Selvaperunthagai speaking at the All India Congress Committee leaders meeting in Chennai on Tuesday. | Photo Credit: M. SRINATH

Within a week of the DMK-led INDIA bloc getting a resounding mandate by winning all 40 seats in Tamil Nadu and Pudhucherry, Tamil Nadu Congress Committee (TNCC) president K. Selvaperunthagai on Tuesday cast a shadow over the alliance as he reignited the debate over whether the Congress should continue its dependence on the DMK or seek to expand its base independently.

At a party event in Chennai, he said the Congress had its own history and ideology to include everyone within its fold, and it was the right of the party to say that “it will form Kamarajar’s rule”.

“We have 99 MPs and two independents have joined us (nationally). Thirty-one of those MPs are from Scheduled Castes/Schedule Tribes communities. Around 33% of the votes has come back to the party. The wheels of history are changing. What direction are we going to take? Alliance solidarity is different, but how long are we going to be dependent on an alliance partner,” he said.

While Mr. Selvaperunthagai’s call for an open debate set the stage, speeches by Congress leaders E.V.K.S Elangovan and Peter Alphonse praising the DMK and its president M.K. Stalin for the victory in the recent election, were met with dissent.

Former TNCC president K.S. Alagiri said there was no connection between being in an alliance and being strong as a party.

“Who can stop us from becoming strong? Nobody can deny that we have roots here in Tamil Nadu. It was nurtured by Kamarajar (former Chief Minister). There are always 500 people wherever we go, we are able to mobilise a big crowd. No party can survive without power for 50 years. People are eager to see (our leader) Rahul Gandhi. So, this support should be accommodated within the party structure,” he said.

Responding to a suggestion that the Congress should at least contest the local body election that are due in the next few months without an alliance, Karur MP Jothimani said the cadre often pawn their jewels to contest these elections. Therefore, without financial support from the party and an alliance partner, it would not be fair to the candidates.

Long-term goals

Mr. Selvaperunthagai said while there was a call for Mr. Rahul Gandhi to become the Leader of Opposition in Parliament, he cared more about ‘long-term goals’ and showing the way for the next generation.

“The need of the hour is to think about strengthening the Congress party, providing appropriate posts to loyal workers. If this is done, we can show the way for the next generation. It would be able to fight the fascists,” the TNCC president said.

“We respect the DMK and Chief Minister M.K. Stalin. We will fight for them and support them because they are our allies. We will strengthen their hands. But, the Congress has its own ideology and ideas,” Mr. Selvaperunthagai said, and added that, “Nobody will like it if we say ‘we won’t form Kamarajar’s rule’ because we are allies. We have our own path. Alliance is different. We oppose fascism along with our allies.Organisational setup should be developed, and vote share should be improved. Without doing these two things, we cannot complain that allies are not respecting us.”

All India Congress Committee in-charge for Tamil Nadu, Pudhucherry, and Odisha Ajoy Kumar said while the intention to contest elections alone was understandable, he underlined that the Congress did not have the strength to compete meaningfully.

He urged the district Congress Committee leadership to start their padayatras in their own district first, start building the organisation at the booth level, and meet people before expecting the State president to do a state-wide padayatra.

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