Chennai: Has Congress scored a self-goal for its victory prospects in Tamil Nadu with India abstaining from voting in favour of a US-sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka in UNHRC for alleged human rights violations?
The answer seems to be `yes` since party veterans themselves are questioning the move in the backdrop of the April 24 Lok Sabha polls, even as their hopes of a possible tie-up with DMK seem to have dashed with its chief M Karunanidhi virtually shutting the door despite extending an olive branch.
Having supported previous such initiatives, India`s abstention on grounds that the resolution was `intrusive` and affected its southern neighbour`s sovereignty has failed to cut ice with the Congress` state unit since it is aware of the political implications behind the emotive issue.
Senior leaders and Union Ministers P Chidambaram and G K Vasan have already made their displeasure known, even as lower level leaders fear the issue could be used against the party by rivals in the electoral battle, which is already witnessing a multi-cornered contest.
Congress after a long time is facing the polls by itself and the leaders had put up a brave face after DMK and DMDK spurned offers of alliance. However, signs of discomfort cannot miss the eye now.
Chidambaram minced no words when he said India should have supported the resolution even it was a watered down one.
"It is my personal opinion. Twenty three countries had supported it and we also should have supported even if it was a watered down one; whether it was a strong or weak one," he had said.
Vasan, the first state unit Congress leader to publicly announce his decision to not fight the elections and someone who had been raising the Sri Lankan Tamils issue often with the Centre and PMO in particular, said that while government may defend its decision, there "is no second opinion on (alleged) human rights violations."
"Political leaders in Tamil Nadu, including those from Congress have time and again expressed our views (that there were human rights violations). (India`s abstention) has resulted in agony and shock for a majority of Congress leaders and workers in the state," he said.
DMK chief M Karunanidhi, who had last week extended an olive branch to Congress, proposing a possible alliance if the `ungrateful` ally apologised, had later sought to distance himself from the party, saying India`s decision to abstain from voting amounted to the ruling Congress shutting the door itself on Tamils.