Congress has no partner in TN

Congress has no partner in TN

DMK names 35 candidates; Raja, Maran re-nominated

Congress has no partner in TN

The Congress faces a grim electoral battle in Tamil Nadu. Shunning the party, the DMK, its estranged partner of the last election, announced 35 candidates for the Lok Sabha elections. The list includes four seats held by the Congress.

With both the ruling AIADMK led by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha and the DMK closing their gates, the Congress in Tamil Nadu is facing the prospect of contesting the  parliamentary polls without either of the two major Dravidian parties in tow.

Adding to the Congress woes, actor politician Vijayakanth's DMDK also sought electoral tie-up with the BJP. With the smaller regional parties such as Ramadoss-led Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), Vaiko-led MDMK and even main Muslim outfit Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) having already been accommodated by various parties, the Congress has no option left but to go alone in the coming elections.

Meanwhile, the DMK has renominated A Raja and Dayanidhi Maran, allegedly involved in the 2G spectrum allocation scam, in its list of 35. It has left five seats for its allies.

In 1998, when the Congress contested alone and drew a blank. The Congress has been able to send its members to the Lok Sabha only riding piggy back either on the AIADMK or the DMK for a long time.

Congress senior leaders from Tamil Nadu, including Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram, G K Vasan, E V K S Elangovan, former Union ministers Jayanthi Natarajan and Mani Shankar Aiyar, who are aspiring to seek another term, will now be facing a daunting task if their party goes alone to the polls.

Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) V Narayanasamy, who is also keen on contesting this time from lone Puducherry seat, has a tough job to retain the seat.

An erstwhile ally of the Congress, the DMK snapped ties with the party last year over the Sri Lankan Tamils issue.

The Congress last-minute efforts to stitch an alliance with the DMK was reportedly blocked by its senior leader M K Stalin saying the tie-up would dent his party over the Sri Lankan Tamils issue, which would take the centre stage during the poll campaign.

The Congress has put up a brave face with Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram saying the party would field candidates in all 40 seats. On the other hand, Union Shipping Minister G K Vasan, a former Tamil Nadu unit president, met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and voiced concern over the delay in striking alliances.

Tamil Nadu Congress chief B S Gnanadesikan met Congress Sonia Gandhi on Monday but refused to answer alliance-related questions.