July 08 2020
With ‘stars’ on the horizon, DMK looks to press reset button
21 February 2018

Four years after reorganising the party structure by bifurcating and trifurcating the district units, the DMK high-command has decided to launch a yet another revamping exercise by constituting a committee headed by former Union Minister T.R. Baalu to make recommendations.

Former MP and spokesperson T.K.S. Elangovan and sitting MLA S. Austin are other members of the committee, which will submit its report by March 20. The objective is to simplify the administration of the district units and revamp them so that they are in alignment with the Assembly constituencies.

“In many places, the Assembly constituencies are spread across many party district units and it has become very difficult for the high-command to decide who among the district secretaries should be given the responsibility. The (redrawing) exercise will address the issue,” said Mr. Elangovan.

Though the next Assembly elections are due only in 2021, the DMK feels that the longevity of the government led by Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami would be dependent on the Madras High Court’s order on the disqualification of 18 MLAs belonging to the T.T.V. Dhinakaran faction.

Whatever may be the outcome, the DMK and its working president M.K. Stalin, more than any other political party and leader, are under tremendous pressure to keep the house in order and vibrant as the Dravidian major is heading towards a situation that existed during the lifetime of former Chief Minister M.G. Ramachandran. The DMK had to sit in the opposition for 13 years when MGR was alive, and after 1996, this is the first time the party has lost two successive Assembly elections. Moreover, the political foray of popular actors like Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth has clouded the prospects of the DMK.

Mr. Baalu, however, was sceptical about the success of the two actors in politics. “They are popular faces. But I am not sure whether they have the tenacity to face the ebb and flow of the political current of Tamil Nadu. On the other hand, we have a time-tested leadership and district secretaries capable of navigating the party during times of trouble and achieve success,” he told The Hindu.

The Dhinakaran factor

To drive home the point that the DMK has the resilience, he cited the 13-year-period when the party had to sit out of the government.

He also dismissed as non-issue the victory of Mr. Dhinakaran in the Dr. Radhakrishnan Nagar constituency which had created the impression that the DMK was not looked at as an alternative to the ruling AIADMK. Another problem peculiar to the DMK is the strong and powerful district secretaries. Though Mr. Stalin created new districts, introduced new faces in 2014 and substantially reduced the clout of district secretaries, the failure to address the weakness of the organisation in the western belt of the State led to its drubbing in the last Assembly elections.



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