CHENNAI: It was trumpeted to be an event in which the party’s district level office-bearers and heads of various affiliated units will have the freedom to speak up their grievances and grudges to bring them to the notice of the working president MK Stalin. But for a few sessions in the initial phase, the introspective sessions presided over by Stalin, by and large, have left the party’s district level honchos in sour taste as the space for escalating internal issues was minimised.
The district secretaries of DMK themselves do not encourage a free hand to office-bearers who are invited for a session with Stalin, party sources said.Fearing loss of face before their leader, they influence the dissenting voices by luring them, sources said adding that those gathering courage to air their grudges are being coerced to tone down. The regulated and regimented face-to-face with Stalin has been gradually losing sheen and failing to enthuse and instill confidence in the distraught low level functionaries.
“We are not provided a better opportunity, as promised earlier, to talk about the problems afflicting the party in a free manner. District secretaries choke the voice of those who are really worried about the affairs of the party. Before entering the hall too, we are given a decree,” an office-bearer of DMK from western Tamil Nadu told Express.
Stalin set in motion the introspective sessions, which he called stock taking of the field, on Feb. 1 by going into a huddle with office-bearers from Coimbatore followed by The Nilgiris, Erode, Tirupur, Salem, Dharmapuri, Tiruchy, Perambalur, Ariyalur, Karur, Tiruvarur, Pudukottai, Thanjavur and Nagapattinam.
DMK leaders noted that western districts were preferred to others during the introspective sessions only because the party needed to be strengthened in the Kongu region. The party could not shine well in the region in 2016 Assembly polls. Lack of enthusiasm among the cadre, uninspiring leadership and internal squabbles were cited to be the main reasons for poor performance in the polls.
The party structure is expected to be revamped in the Western region once the introspective sessions are over and the first regional conference at Erode is conducted by the end of next month, they said.On Friday, Stalin met office-bearers from Madurai which was once a fortress of ousted leader and his brother MK Alagiri. Post-ouster of Alagiri, the younger brother had purged the party and its units of those owing allegiance to Alagiri and replaced them with his loyalists.