Over the past week, the choice of certain candidates have irked cadres and locals.

From Coonoor to Tirunelveli infighting in the DMK is out in the open
news TN 2016 Tuesday, April 19, 2016 - 16:33

“We don’t know who Satish is,” screamed locals at a protest at Pudhukottai, where a new candidate of the DMK has been fielded in the Alangudi constituency. At a time where fresh faces are being groomed to foray into electoral politics, the change has caused a stormy infighting within the party. While party workers and locals in a few constituencies feel veterans are being denied their tickets, workers from other constituencies believe it’s about time their candidates deserve a second look. 

Over the past week, the choice of a few prominent candidates have irked cadres and locals. In Pudukottai, many protested against newbie Satish as the DMK candidate in Alangudi. Supporters of Siva.V. Meyyanathan, party Aranthangi union chairman, took out a procession carrying black flags at Keeramangalam village after making a symbolic representation to Nakeerar, the Tamil poet of the Sangam era, at a local Shiva temple in the village. They demanded that Meyyanathan be fielded in the constituency.

Meanwhile in Palayamkottai, the anger was towards a long-time MLA who locals say, had done little for the constituency. Former minister TPM Mohideen Khan in Palayamkottai was given the MLA ticket for the third time, earning the ire of locals and party cadres. Functionaries gathered at DMK chief M Karunanidhi's residence in Gopalapuram on Friday demanding replacement of Khan. “We feel the constituencies that needed replacements were not given one, and the constituencies where they decided to field newbies did not allow them enough experience. In Alangudi, Sathish is barely one year into the political field. What will he be able to do if he can’t take the heat now?" a DMK cadre in Palayamkottai said. 

In Vellore, partymen staged protests and a cadre attempted suicide, unhappy over Kavitha Dhandapani's candidature in Jolarpet. “We don’t even know who these candidates are and where they come from. This is the first time we have had to carry out a such an open protest like this, we would never defy the party leadership. How can we win?,” a DMK cadre from Vellore said. 

In Coonoor, the nomination of a non-Badaga candidate has upset many locals. Badagas make up a significant percentage of the population, and tradition in the area has been to field Badaga candidates. Demanding reconsideration of the Coonoor constituency seat candidate, a rally was organized in Kotagiri town in the Nilgiris by the supporters of DMK ex-minister and sitting MLA of Coonoor constituency K Ramachandran in association with Young Badaga Association.  The Coonoor constituency ticket has been given to Mubarak, who is the present DMK Nilgiris district secretary. “I feel like they no longer listen to us and don't understand the pulse of a constituency. Kalaignar is completely out of the loop and all of these decisions have been left in the hands of inexperienced people. It’s all bad communication and we feel disrespected,” a source within the DMK said.

Anbil Mahesh Poyyamozhi, the choice of MK Stalin for Thiruverumbur in Trichy, did not escape the wrath of local leaders. Posters appeared against Mahesh across Trichy. Cadres in Manachanallur blocked Trichy-Thuraiyur road demanding replacement of Selvaraj, their candidate. “Poyyamozhi, the son of prominent politician, but we don’t understand why the leadership would field candidates in an area where he does not have the people’s support, one senior cadre said, adding, “but after meeting the top leadership last week, the loyalty among cadres is still strong and we assume that the veteran members are being considered for senior positions in the party. But it has not been communicated to us well enough. “ 

DMK Spokesperson TKS Elangovan considers the infighting a normal part of the process, and the transition to introduce new candidates could have naturally caused an unrest among loyalists. “We have no intention of shuffling candidates or releasing a new list. We need to ensure winnability just as much as we need to give new candidates a chance. Cadres need to trust us. We have been scrutinizing their track record and their abilities.” In response to a cadre’s opinion that the top leadership is disconnected with the demands of the people, he said, “This is a matter of internal politics within the district just as much. The anger is not against the DMK. It will subside, as it has in Virudhachalam. When we field new candidates, these bumps are a part of the process. It's likely to dissipate in a few days." 

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