Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will, on Monday evening, hold discussions with senior leaders of the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee (TNCC) regarding the party’s plans for the assembly elections due in the first half of 2021.
The discussions via video conferencing will see the participation of TNCC President K S Alagiri, working presidents, Congress Working Committee (CWC) member and senior leader P Chidambaram, MPs, MLAs, AICC secretaries hailing from Tamil Nadu, former TNCC chief E V K S Elangovan and other senior leaders.
AICC General Secretary K C Venugopal will moderate the discussion that will begin at 4 pm, sources told Deccan Herald, adding that Gandhi will elicit the opinion of the party leaders as the assembly elections are just six months away.
The meeting assumes significance in the wake of media reports that the Congress was planning to leave the DMK-led alliance and stitch together a Third Front with parties like Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) led by actor Kamal Haasan.
“The meeting will put a full-stop to all these speculations. Rahul Gandhi will discuss the Congress’ plans for the assembly elections with senior leaders. He will seek their opinion on the issues to be raised by the party during the campaign,” a senior leader who will attend the meeting told DH.
He added that the Congress has been making it clear every now and then that its alliance with DMK was “intact”. “Our leader Rahul Gandhi had proposed M K Stalin as the Chief Ministerial candidate of the DMK-led alliance in 2019 and there is no deviation from the stand,” he said.
During the meeting, TNCC leaders are likely to ask Gandhi to “actively campaign” in Tamil Nadu where he “enjoys considerable support” for the alliance. “This meeting is all about planning for the assembly elections. We want Gandhi to campaign actively in Tamil Nadu and we will stress this fact during the meeting. This will help the alliance greatly,” another senior leader said.
Gandhi’s meeting with Tamil Nadu leaders comes a fortnight after AICC in-charge of the state, Dinesh Gundu Rao, making it clear that the party will not “bargain” for seats during talks with the DMK. His comments were made after speculation that the DMK may not “gift many seats” like it did in 2016, following Congress’ “poor performance” in Bihar assembly elections.
Congress and DMK have been in an alliance since 2004, except for three years between 2013 and 2016.