The Lok Sabha election has driven almost all major trade unions in the State to start mobilising resources, with those affiliated to the Left and the Congress feeling upbeat.
The unusual enthusiasm is primarily because both the Left parties as well as the Congress are facing the electorate alone after a long time. For them, ploughing a lonely furrow is a positive development. Talking to Express, union functionaries unequivocally feel that this would give a fillip to their organisational strength in the State.
Tamil Nadu general secretary of the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) T M Murthi said that in the previous elections, the situation dictated that the AITUC support non-Left parties or candidates. “This is something that we don’t have to deal with in this election,” he said.
This is an opinion duly supported by G Sugumaran, Tamil Nadu general secretary for Centre for Indian Trade Unions (CITU).
But while the AITUC, CITU and their affiliated unions would be throwing their weight behind the Left’s candidates, they still await directives about the stance with regard to where they are not in the fray.
Except for a broad anti-Congress anti-BJP stand, there is none so far. “AITUC has instructed members to support any non-Congress, non-BJP candidate who will support and form a worker-friendly government,” said Murthi.
Echoing the AITUC and CITU, the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) State secretary-general R P K Murugesan reasoned that the Congress’s chances of strengthening the party in the State post-elections were better than ever. And INTUC members were quite happy with this development, he added.
The mode of campaigning for this election seems to have witnessed a marked shift in focus toward increased door-to-door campaigning. The AITUC, CITU and DMK- affiliated LPF have all stated that their emphasis in this election would be on mobilising their members.
In terms of manpower, The LPF alone is expected to mobilise upwards of 200 people per constituency for the DMK this time, said joint secretary V Subburaman. While the AITUC, CITU and INTUC together are expected to mobilise upwards of five lakh union members for their respective parties across the State.