Sonia Gandhi’s recent closed-door meeting with the top brass of Tamil Nadu Pradesh Congress Committee in Tamil Nadu, suggests that the Congress is aiming to increase its political network in the state which will help them gain greater bargaining power in seeking more seats from its alliance partner Dravidra Munetra Kazagham (DMK) in the next Assembly elections.
Although the next election in Tamil Nadu is in 2026, party leaders believe that the idea has been posited in the cadre by none other than the Congress’ ex-president Sonia Gandhi. The early intimation, a leader said, would help the party leaders contemplate their due process of action and also give them time to create valuable alternatives as to how they can strengthen the state cadre. A party leader said, “It will give them time to think.”
Party insiders suggest that the reason for the early push from the top leadership, to better the political standing of the cadre, could be because the DMK wants to give the Congress less than 8 seats in the upcoming Lok Sabha as their surveys have suggested that their performance could be better than the grand old party in the state. However, according to leaders, there is no confirmation yet on seat the sharing formula in the state. The state has 40 Lok Sabha seats. Besides this, the meeting was seen not to be easy for the state cadre president K.S. Alagiri who was cornered by Sonia Gandhi. A top senior leader aware of the proceedings of the meeting said, “Sonia Gandhi asked the president a couple of times what his plan is to develop the Congress in Tamil Nadu, to which he could not give a satisfactory answer each time he was asked.”
He said, “Therefore, it was also raised in the meeting that the BJP was doing an active job picking up issues and targeting their Opposition which should have been met with adequate response from the Congress. The leadership was made to realise that their performance is below par and a lot needs to be done to improve the party’s political standing. It was a brief meeting and these were two key things picked up.”