With farmers on agenda, Rahul seeds Cong revival in TN and AP

Congress leader attends rally in Trichy and going to Karnataka tomorrow

shivani

Shivani Chaturvedi | July 23, 2015 | Chennai


#rahul Gandhi   #congress   #cong   #tamil nadu   #farmers   #assembly elections  

The countdown to the 2016 assembly elections began in Tamil Nadu with the byelection to RK Nagar, where chief minister J Jayalalithaa contested and won with a huge margin. The impending assembly election has triggered visits of high-profile national figures and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi is first on the list.

He came to Trichy or Tiruchirappalli today and met farmers in the area. Discussions with the farmers included the land bill that has led to a raging debate between the NDA government at the centre and opposition. The visit is being sold as part of Rahul’s tour of southern states where he will meet farmers’ families in Karnataka and undertake padayatra in Andhra Pradesh tomorrow (Friday). However, the visit is more for the survival of the Congress party in TN and to retain the legacy of K Kamaraj.

Gandhi scion addressed a rally in Trichy held as part of the celebrations of the birth anniversary of party stalwart Kamaraj.  His programme is designed to counter the influence extended by his former party lader GK Vasan, who quit Congress to revive his father GK Moopnar’s Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC) last November.

Chennai-based political commentator BR Haran feels that given the present condition of the Congress party which is nowhere in the state, Rahul Gandhi’s visit is of little consequence. “Rahul Gandhi cannot bring votes to the party in Tamil Nadu,” says Haran. He feels that this visit is to counter Vasan’s move as Congress is keen to retain political capital of Kamaraj, which Vasan's TMC is staking claim. Trichy is the place where Vasan revived the TMC.

The Congress leadership is ridden with factionalism, lack of leadership and without alliance in TN. Many senior leaders of the Congress have quit the party in the recent past. After Vasan, former environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan resigned from The Congress.

Even people in the state don’t take the Congress party seriously, say analysts in the field.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress had contested all the 39 Lok Sabha seats from the state but it failed to win any seat and polled just 4.3 percent of the votes.

Why is the Congress vice president in Tamil Nadu and Trichy? Reason for him choosing Trichy is because it is in centre of Tamil Nadu and well-connected. The party cadres from the districts can gather easily.

 “We can expect Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and Congress alliance in the months to come,” says Gnani Sankaran, political analyst. Even All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kahagam (AIADMK) and BJP alliance is on the cards, he said.

Rahul’s Friday visit to Andhra Pradesh is also significant as this is the first time he is visiting bifurcated Andhra Pradesh. Congress, had backed the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh. It was once a powerful party in the state but lost a lot of ground after it supported the formation of Telangana. Rahul Gandhi’s visit is being seen as an effort to strengthen the party’s remaining base in Andhra Pradesh.

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