The Congress party through some of its spokesmen, was
educating the public till recently, about the desirability
and imperative necessity for avoiding party politics,
in the Local self-government spheres. “Those are places”
said they, “wherein, civic needs are looked after, and
they are not places wherein polities are adumbrated.
It is only in legislatures that political parties should
attempt to give shape to their theories, not where there
is the need to confirm to a set of rules and regulations.
Only those, who are imbued with service mentality should
enter the local self-government institutions, be they
of any political persuasion. These places should not
become cockpits of politics, for, unnecessary rancour
would be generated, which would lead to the ultimate
deterioration of administration and defeat the very
purpose for which these institutions were founded.
In fact, Mr. C.Subramaniam, pleaded eloquently for the
avoidance of political bickering in that arena. On the
floor of the State Assembly, the Minister lifted himself
up to a higher plan and said, “I do not like the idea
of political parties contesting elections for these
local bodies. I would request the political parties
to come to an agreement not to contest these elections
on party basis.”
On behalf of the D.M.K., an assurance was offered— “if
the minister so desires, all the political parties could
sit around a table and come to a gentlemen’s agreement
to desist from contesting on party basis.” This was
welcomed by all those interested in local self-government
and hailed as a salubrious move.
But there is a vociferous group in the Congress party,
over which Mr. Subramaniam seems to have no hold. Others
might find, his suggestions intelligent, worth noting
and even accepting, but not those, who find the best
opportunity for wire-pulling, stage-managing, and fund
collecting, during such election times. And against
that group Mr.Subramaniam is powerless.
In the Congress party itself, Mr.Subramaniam is assigned
the role of camp clerk but not the role of a policy-maker.
Though, Mr.C.S. is attempting to step into the field
of policy making, his way is being barred, by those
who have grown grey in the art of manipulation and window
So, his well-thought out plea on the floor of the House,
fell on deaf ears, in the party camp, and the Warwicks
there have taken the decision to contest these elections
on party basis.
Mr.C.Subramaniam seems to have offered no resistance
to this move, perhaps he was conscious of his powerlessness.
And so, the Congress has taken the big drum and has
entered in right earnest, the arena of local self-government.
So, the D.M.K., though it wanted to establish and maintain
a wholesome principle, has been forced to meet out this
The aim of the Congress party in attempting to enter
Municipalities, is firstly to provide some place of
rank, to those, who have not found a place in the legislature.
The Congress considers that these local bodies are so
many feeder centres.
The Congress party wants to tap the resources of the
rich people of each locality, by catering to their vanity.
Already, agents, and canvassers are busy in the political
market. Highest bidders are welcomed, men with moderate
means are asked to stand by.
The Congress has got a distinct advantage which the
D.M.K., cannot hope to get, and should not aim at.
Anybody can become a Congress canditate!
He might not have so much as touched a Khadhar cloth—he
might have been an abkari contractor—he might be a rank
conservative, he might have been a lackey of the imperialist,
he might still be a black-marketer, he might be a social
menace—but he could become a Congress canditate, provided
he has got the means of paving a silvery path.
The D.M.K., cannot and ought not to debase itself. Only
those partymen of known merit, who are held in high
esteem by the public, not for his affluence but because
of his service, could be set up as candidates. Seats
cannot be doled out—or auctioned to the highest bidder.
When the Congress announced its intention to enter the
contest, naturally the enthusiasts in the D.M.K., expressed
their fervour and desire, to enter the contest.
The best argument that they put forward was this:
Unless we take steps to meet this challenge, the Congress
would debase these local bodies, by ushering in one-party
dominance in those places.
They should give a stiff fight to the Congress by themselves
entering the field, and by also assisting those who
are prepared to fight the Congress—provided such men
are endowed with progressive ideals.
The General Secretary hence, arranged for a consultative
conference and those who attended it, gave good suggestions.
They were not unaware of the fact, that in the elections
to local bodies, money plays a deciding role, caste
has got a firm hold; They admitted that in every town,
there are particular localities, which could be termed
as pocket buroughs. There are certain constituencies,
wherein the caste feeling could be easily tapped and
In almost all important towns, the course of these elections
are determined by the machinations of half a dozen families,
who have sinister influence.
The number of voters being small as compared with the
assembly elections, the temptation to and the chances
of purchasing votes become strong.
Those who urged upon the General Secretary, to allow
partymen to enter the contest, were quite well aware
of all these and other ugly facts as well, but they
based their reasoning on sound democratic principle
and said that they should be allowed to contest, wherever
the climate was conducive.
The General Secretary held another consultative meeting,
and has issued a statement, based broadly on the suggestions
received, and has constituted special committees, to
look after the problem of granting permission to contest.
So the call has come, and those who are determined to
thwart the attempt of the Congress, should mobilise
all available resources and strength in right earnest.
We would request that our partymen in the various towns
should not try to imitate the Congress, by roping in
all and sundry, as party candidates, but should try
to maintain the purity and dignity of the party, at
A few more seats gained at the expense of party principles,
is not to be encouraged. We are a growing party, and
our law of life is entirely different from that of the
Congress. That party has to bolster up its weakness
and its unprincipled ways, by parading electoral victories,
even by taking into its fold any person who happens
to be a ‘somebody’ in a town. Not so our way. We have
a mission to perform which should never be marred by
unholy alliances, hasty combinations and doubtful friendships
just for the sake of electoral victories.
We request our friends, to keep this view, while entering
the contest in the local body elections.