In politics, the toughest thing to do is the right thing, and when your supporters think the right thing is something else, things get worse. Welcome to the new age politics, where even if one party is trying to do the best, people think that the right thing is something else. One of the numerous questions, which are still unanswered in TamilNadu politics is, “Do we have a third alternative?” Of course there are. However, people finding it difficult choosing between a party with the correct attitude and willingness to work for the people and parties with just traditional, regional and emotional bondage.
If you carefully consider the alternatives for the Dravidian parties, which had ruled the state for a very long time with a lot of anti-incumbency and disbelief among people especially young and aspiring voters. Most of the so-called alternatives, who had proclaimed themselves alternatives, never proved to even co-exist as a party with an organisation structure and credible leader base, who can even form a government to satisfy people’s mandate. On top of it, most of these parties not even have the ideology to express or exhibit nor a mission statement to achieve in a shorter or a long-term vision of how that mission is to be accomplished.
After carefully considering all the alternatives for the two major Dravidian parties, we can conclude that the best alternative for Tamilnadu is to be the congress party. We will see in more detail on how this assumption will be proved. Before that, if you think of the negatives on why people still not believe congress to be the third alternative to the main parties in Tamil Nadu is as follows. First and the foremost thing, many consider congress as not an alternative is just because it is a national party, with a notional perception that national parties are not for Tamil Nadu or for a matter for any state. However, even though Congress, in its length and breadth aligns with the feel of the people, their dreams and aspirations of a secular government, inclusive administration, socialist approach and more importantly, development oriented representation, people still have some reservations in choosing congress as their representation.
Even after, people liking the secular attitude, their seasoned political style, administration capability, stature and charisma of the congress party, something is stopping them from accepting Congress as their prime alternative. This is because of the perception created over the past that congress is against Tamil Culture, Tamil Ideology, and Tamil Tradition, which seems to be blatantly false. Repeatedly, Parties, which even does not have a traditional connect with people and even caste based smaller outfits, continue to project a rift between their national agenda and regional dialect to rule out Congress from Tamilnadu political arena. This forced the bigger and stronger national party like congress to make an induced alignment with the regional parties to provide service to the people of Tamilnadu.
One of the many issues, which distances Congress from Tamil people, is the Srilankan Tamil Refugee issue. First, we need to understand that Srilanka is a sovereign nation. This nation is enrolled itself under NATO, so any pressure or force to this nation can be exerted only in a diplomatic procedure and to only a certain extent. The diplomatic efforts, which was undertaken to settle the Tamil people in their own land under the previous congress regime was to be at least recognised, if not appreciated. Whatever happened during the freedom struggle inside the Srilankan country factored variably and any wrongdoings credited to the congress government is just a blame game to spoil their credibility. However, the regional parties or smaller outfits does not offer to have a permanent solution to the issue, Raising an issue which they themselves does not have a solution does not take into any road.
Another important issue, that distances the Congress party from the people of Tamilnadu is the Hindi Language advocacy, this issue had dragged down even the tallest leader like Kamaraj from his high-held position. Even though Kamaraj was a very successful Leader and a truthful leader, to serve the masses, who introduced the primary and middle school education system in Tamilnadu, who introduced the mid-day meal scheme, who created jobs, who ran corruption free government, was not able to sustain the plot created against him using the sentiment of the Tamil people. The fact is that national party like congress, have far more love to the regional culture and tradition. If we carefully recall, that congress government declared Tamil as a classical language, and Tamil language is taught in almost all universities in India.
One another issue, which creates some space between congress party and Tamilnadu is the river water disputes like Cauvery, Mullai Periyar, etc., Even though, Congress as a national party needs to take care of the interest of all the states, congress party has always been generous towards Tamilnadu and Tamil people. Congress governments in the centre have always supported any action by Tamilnadu government on Cauvery water dispute and just before congress ended its 2nd term in office, there has been a ruling in favour of Tamilnadu and the government after that had failed to implement the same. Discussions and negotiations happened with the neighbouring Kerala and judicial proceedings favoured Tamilnadu in the Mullai Periyar issue, where the dam increase initiatives had been curbed. On Palar water dispute with Karnataka and Andhra, Tamilnadu has been able to find an amicable solution with Andhra via offline methods and it was no more an issue. All these initiatives happened with the help of the central congress governments.
These are just factors, which want to distance congress from the people of Tamilnadu. However, if you can sense, the popularity of the congress party is always intact, except for the fact that, infighting among leaders and pseudo-charges of corruption, are the main factors, congress loyalists still prefer to stay away from openly choosing them or move away to available options on a stopgap alternative. However, we feel that people nowadays understand the true reason behind raising these issues and are well aware that these are political trump cards, in any game trump cards can be used only once and not always.
To recover out of these shackles, Congress needs to do the groundwork well before reaching out to people for support. Connecting with the masses and taking away the incorrect perception about the congress attitude towards regional references. Educate their leaders to work cordially towards the benefit of the state. On a Grand Old Party, there will definitely be ego clashes and leadership battles, these needs sorted sooner than later. Organisation structure has to be created starting from booth level. Students unions must be strengthened and last but most importantly District Level Poll Strategist and Poll Managers must be hired. A More detailed Analysis of the organisational work will be discussed soon. Please wait for my next post.