At a time when the Congress is looking for strategies to invigorate the party, Sivaganga MP Karti P. Chidambaram suggested that Priyanka Gandhi should contest the by-elections to the Kanyakumari Lok Sabha seat in Tamil Nadu. He said this move could boost the morale of the party at the national level and also in Tamil Nadu, which is going for elections in 2021.
“We haven’t had great electoral successes in the recent past. We need to do something to capture the mood of the people and uplift the morale of the cadres. In Tamil Nadu, the people have great regard and connect with the Gandhi family. This is why I suggested that Gandhi contest from Kanyakumari,” Karti told THE WEEK.
In a tweet on Tuesday Karti had said, “We need a bold move, something which will fire up the imagination of the Congress workers. Priyanka Gandhi must contest the Kanyakumari parliamentary seat election which is likely to be announced shortly. It will be an overwhelming victory for her/party/alliance.” He further said that it will have a ripple effect for the upcoming assembly elections. “It is a sure-shot win and her presence in Parliament will be a boost for the Congress. This will in no way hamper her Uttar Pradesh duties,” he said.
Karti’s statement assumes significance in the backdrop of the party's failure in the Bihar assembly elections, with the RJD-led Mahagatbandhan, of which Congress was part of, losing to NDA. Many leaders in the party felt that the leaders failed to strategise, which led to the fall. And in Tamil Nadu, the national party had done a survey identifying the constituencies it could contest in the upcoming 2021 polls, being part of the DMK alliance. Recently, the party’s Tamil Nadu incharge Dinesh Gundu Rao said that the Congress will not bargain with the DMK for seats. There have been reports saying that the DMK is trying to reduce number of seats for the national party to contest on.
On the other hand, Kanyakumari, which is a Congress bastion in south Tamil Nadu, lost its MP H. Vasanthakumar to COVID-19 recently. There are reports that the DMK is not keen on Congress getting the constituency again. Also, former Union minister and senior BJP leader Pon Radhakrishnan is considering contesting from Kanyakumari when the constituency goes for by-polls.
Karti’s tweet, however, has not gone down well within the party, it seems. Party workers feel that Priyanka Gandhi should contest from Uttar Pradesh. “Could not disagree more. In my honest opinion, Priyanka Gandhi, when she does contest, should do so from any seat in Uttar Pradesh or from any place in the Hindi heartland. That would fire up the Congress workers in the place that needs it the most,” state Congress leader Mohan Kumaramangalam wrote on Twitter.