TNCC selecting platform speakers for campaigning

Chennai: Apparently eyeing 2014 Lok Sabha polls and in need to rejuvenate itself at the grassroot level, Congress in Tamil Nadu is in the process of selecting platform speakers to reach out to the masses in order to highlight its principles besides UPA government's achievements.

"These platform speakers will be mainly used for campaigning activities including public meetings and they will highlight government's policies and achievements besides propagating our principles," TNCC president B S Gnanadesikan told.

Congress, which was pushed off the ruling saddle in Tamil Nadu by DMK in the 1967 Assembly elections, has since found it impossible to come back to power, aligning with either DMK or AIADMK for survival.

AICC General Secretary Rahul Gandhi has been insisting on the need to rejuvenate Congress at the local level in the state, asking supporters to reach out to the people.

The effort presumably aimed at the 2014 Lok Sabha polls comes in the wake of AIADMK and DMK already taking steps to emerge victorious at the hustings.

Seeking to play a larger role at the national level, AIADMK supremo and Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has asked partymen to work to net all 40 seats (39 in Tamil Nadu and one in Puducherry) while DMK's strained relations with Congress against the backdrop of the 2G spectrum scam has put the future ties hanging in the balance.

The Congress' state unit once boasted of veteran speakers like late thespian 'Sivaji' Ganesan, lyricist Kannadasan, EVK Sampath, TN Ananthanayagi, Nellai Kannan and 'Tamizharuvi' Manian (both former members), who could keep the crowds spellbound with their oratorical skills, a key ingredient for a party's success mantra in state politics.

Union Home Minister P Chidambaram is also considered a great speaker by partymen, known for his chaste Tamil and ability to convey the most intricate issues in the simplest terms to the masses.

In fact, it is an undeniable fact that DMK managed to charm the masses through sheer oratory from the likes of the late CN Annadurai, party chief M Karunanidhi and Sampath himself, who had later parted ways with the Dravidian party, using it as a ladder to cement its place in the state's political history.

On the latest initiative, Gnanadesikan said the selected aspirants will be divided into state and district platform speakers and imparted training in March.

"The selection process is based on one's voice, tone and command over the language," he said. An audition had been held recently at Chennai.

Candidates have been finalised and they will be trained outside Chennai, he said.

Asked if this was a preparation for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Gnanadesikan asserted that the chosen speakers will popularise government policies and achievements and the Congress' principles among people.