TNCC remarks on alliance lead to DMK'S boycott

Sources said the DMK’s anger against Congress in Tamil Nadu aggravated after two of its councillors voted in favour of AIADMK candidate in Pudukkottai that went in favour of the ruling party. Credit: Twitter (@KS_Alagiri)

 A public statement by Tamil Nadu Congress Committee (TNCC) chief K S Alagiri accusing the DMK of “not adhering to coalition dharma” and cross-voting by Congress councillors in the local body elections that cost the regional party a district panchayat chairmanship.

These two reasons seem to have weighed heavily on the minds of the top leadership of the DMK which boycotted a meeting of Opposition parties convened by the Congress in New Delhi on Monday to discuss its strategy on the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

Sources said the DMK’s anger against Congress in Tamil Nadu aggravated after two of its councillors voted in favour of AIADMK candidate in Pudukkottai that went in favour of the ruling party. If not for the Congress members’ cross-voting, DMK and AIADMK would have won 13 district panchayats each – now the ruling control 14 district panchayats, DMK 12.

The friction began last week when Alagiri and Congress floor leader in the Assembly K R Ramasamy accused DMK of not adhering to “coalition dharma” in the allocation of chairmen posts to District and Union Panchayats.

Though Alagiri attempted damage control on Monday by saying the alliance with DMK was intact, it did not cut much ice with the regional party’s leadership.

“It was not expected of the Congress to air differences with a senior coalition partner in public. If there were any grievances, the Congress should have aired it to us in private, certainly not in the form of a media statement. And the Congress’ silence on cross-voting of its councillors is also deafening,” a senior leader told DH.

The boycott took place despite DMK Parliamentary party leader and party’s pointsman in the national capital, T R Baalu, camping in New Delhi. “The decision to boycott the meet was of course taken by the top brass. Our leader (M K Stalin) did not like the TNCC’ attitude towards the DMK,” another leader said.

A resolution to the standoff is expected when Alagiri meets interim Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday. This is the first time that a visible strain is being noticed in the DMK-Congress alliance which was renewed in 2016 after a gap of three years. The DMK and Congress stitched up an alliance in 2004 which continued till 2013.

After renewing the alliance in 2016, the DMK-Congress contested 2016 assembly and 2019 Lok Sabha polls together.

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