CHENNAI, 14 MAY: A day after the shocking wipe out of the DMK-Congress alliance in election in Tamil Nadu, the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee president, Mr KV Thangkabalu, who has been facing stiff opposition from his partymen has sent in his resignation to the Congress chief Mrs Sonia Gandhi accepting responsibility for the poll debacle.
It was the Congress`s worst ever performance since Independence in the state. The Congress won just five seats out of the 63 it had bargained hard for from the DMK even if the DMK`s tally was a dismal 23, not even qualifying it to play the role of Opposition leader. Congress general secretary Mr Rahul Gandhi himself bit the dust with all his nominees at the state election defeated. Mr Gandhi had travelled to Puducherry and Tamil Nadu to campaign exclusively for his Youth Congress candidates alone. Not one survived.
Meanwhile the defeat of the Congress has the Sri Lankan Tamil sympathizers in the state and elsewhere raising a toast. For the Congress and also the DMK, this was the first electoral test after the end of war in Sri Lanka. Knowing its import both the AIADMK and the DMK made customary references to the issue in the run-up to the Assembly poll. Significantly, film director and activist, Mr Seeman who runs a NAAM TAMILAR outfit met the AIADMK chief Miss J Jayalalitha before the polls and offered his support to defeat the DMK-Congress alliance. The DMK government had come down heavily on Mr Seeman and arrested him under NSA, in an apparent bid not to rub up the Congress the wrong way, even as Mr Karunanidhi himself never approved of the LTTE.
A powerful orator, Mr Seeman was drawing huge crowds from the day he addressed his first meeting on the Lankan Tamil plight just as the war began to escalate in Sri Lanka towards the end of 2008. In order not to have him challenge his hold on power, the DMK government had him arrested a few times and then under the NSA. As the election campaign drew to a close, the DMK chief gained an image as a friend of the Sri Lankan president, Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa.
After offering support to the AIADMK, Mr Seeman`s outfit got down to the job of exclusively targeting the Congress constituencies and campaigned widely in those constituencies. Elsewhere, the Lankan Tamil issue and Karunanidhi`s duplicity along with the heartless stand of the Congress was taken up by every Opposition party from the AIADMK to the BJP and even the BSP and independents.
The result has come as a sweet surprise to pro-LTTE parties in and outside India. MDMK`s Vaiko, Tamil Nationalist movement leader, Mr P Nedumaran, and even DMK allies, Mr Thol Thirumavalavan and PMK leader, Dr S Ramadoss, have welcomed the result. The AIADMK front itself has pro-LTTE Dalit leader, Dr K Krishnasamy and the DMDK of Mr Vijaykanth. Mr Seeman in his reaction to the result said that their objective of decimating the Congress has been successful in this election. In her first exclusive interview to the press done for her party channel, Jaya TV on Friday, the AIADMK chief made strong references to the Lankan Tamil issue to the extent of seeking war crime punishment for Mr Rajapaksa. It is the beginning of round II between the LTTE and the Congress, but this time in Tamil Nadu.