(This story originally appeared in on Apr 03, 2021).
More than getting a particular number of seats in the DMK alliance and distributing it to party functionaries without hiccups, the single greatest issue for the Congress in TN is how to improve its miserable strike rate.From a strike rate of more than 70% in the 2006 assembly poll, the Congress’s strike rate had fallen below 10% in 2011 and was less than 20% in 2016. The low strike rate was one reason that the DMK was at first not happy to spare more than 20 seats. “Take 20 and we will guarantee you win a minimum of 18,” DMK leaders appear to have told Congress leaders throughout initial phases of seat sharing talks.The Congress ultimately managed to get 25 seats, spread out across the four regions of the state, and Congress leaders are working hard to win at least 20. “DMK president M K Stalin has actually extensively campaigned around the state. The DMK engine is strongly pulling allies along and all compartments have actually fallen in line. This need to help the Congress carry out effectively,” said senior Congress leader Peter Alphonse.In the case of seats including Ponneri and Aranthangi, where DMK partymen revolted versus the seats being provided to the Congress, non-cooperating party functionaries have been told to fall in line. Thiruvadanai and Karaikudi too look favourable, sources in the Congress said.As for Kallakurichi, Vriddhachalam and dealta seats, the Congress is relying on votes being split by the AMMK– DMDK alliance, besides the strength of the DMK. In the south, the minorities’ vote base might be a video game changer for the party’s nine prospects, with Sivakasi and Srivilliputhur nominees finding additional support from Communists and Vaiko.But four-five seats in the west are proving difficult for the celebration. While Mayura Jayakumar has been swamped by MNM’s Kamal Haasan and BJP’s Vanathi Srinivasan in Coimbatore, R Mohan Kumaramangalam and Thirumagan Evera are proving to be electoral newbies in Omalur and Erode. Having actually invested their time more in Bengaluru and Chennai, they are finding the going difficult. “Overall, we want to win 15-18 seats,” a Congress leader stated. That need to provide it a strike rate of 60-70%, while contesting nearly 40% less seats this time.