Tamil Nadu Congress to emulate party's rebuilding efforts in Kerala

Kalpetta: The Tamil Nadu Pradesh Congress Committee (TNCC) is planning to copy its Kerala counterpart's initiative to recoup the party by giving it a semi-cadre structure. 

To emulate the model, TNCC president K S Alagiri visited Kerala to study the unit committees, a collective of Congress-friendly families at the local level, which comes under the booth committees.

The move is with an eye on future polls. 

The Congress high command has high hopes of its Tamil Nadu unit winning the highest number of Lok Sabha seats in South India in the next general election. Congress won 18 out of the 25 Assembly constituencies it had contested in the previous polls, besides bagging eight Lok Sabha seats in 2019.

The victory, in alliance with the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), was the largest in the recent past. 

The DMK is a part of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA). 

Alagiri reached Wayanad to know at first hand the unit committees after realising the need for organisational restructuring. He said the party has been functioning in an exemplary manner in Wayanad, represented by Rahul Gandhi in the Lok Sabha.

The Wayanad District Congress Committee has formed 204 unit committees under 34 booths in the Nenmeni constituency alone. Unit committees are being constituted in other constituencies also. 

Alagiri met KPCC working president T Siddique, MLA, and Wayanad DCC president N D Appachan, who briefed the Tamil Nadu leader about the unit committees. Delegates from Tamil Nadu also held talks with party workers in the district. 

Alagiri reached Wayanad from Gudalur, where he discussed the future course of the agitation regarding the land issues in the Nilgiris.

High odds

TNCC general secretary Koshy Baby said Congress could become a formidable force in Tamil Nadu only if it copied the semi-cadre structure. The organisation has been continuously out of power since the Kamaraj era. There are several panchayats in Tamil Nadu where the party does not even have a booth committee.

Adding to the woes is the exodus of workers in Congress strongholds to DMK and AIADMK. The party high command has taken note of the BJP gradually making inroads in Tamil Nadu. Though not in power, the Congress in Kerala has a strong organisational structure. There will be practical difficulties in implementing the Kerala model as it is in Tamil Nadu, but the attempt is to build a strong, cohesive organisation, Baby told Manorama.

Internal strife and groupism weakened the party, which had won 34 of the 48 seats it had contested in the 2006 Assembly polls. Tamil Nadu has the most number of Lok Sabha seats in South India. Congress is now working towards winning maximum seats, out of the total 39, in Tamil Nadu. Though the party is in alliance with DMK, the leaders have realised that the party cannot remain as a junior partner if it has to make giant strides in Tamil Nadu politics.

Congress has already initiated a Ground Zero survey in Tamil Nadu to identify lead cadres. The survey is being conducted after dividing the State into 12 circles.

The survey, completed in five circles, will find new cadres from among the youth, women and Dalits, besides bringing to mainstream inactive leaders and workers. 

The TNCC now has 32 vice presidents, 57 general secretaries and 104 secretaries. The major hurdle before the party unit is to restructure the jumbo TNCC to reinvigorate the organisation.

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