Chennai: They say nothing succeeds like success. Perhaps, its opposite is also equally true. Ask the Congress.

Just when many thought that things can't get any worse for the Congress after its feckless show in the parliamentary elections, it is still slippery slope for the grand old party of India.

And quite troublingly, the bad news for the party is coming from the state where it actually did well for itself in the general elections: Tamil Nadu.

The Congress, which won 8 Lok Sabha seats in the state, thanks to its alliance with the DMK, is now finding that tie-up on shaky grounds.

Recently, senior DMK leader from Trichy and former Minister KN Nehru, speaking at a meeting, said that the DMK should go it alone in the forthcoming local body elections in the State.

"If we are to be of use to the people, we should contest the local body election alone. How long can we remain the palanquin bearers? We have been doing so for long,” Nehru was quoted as saying in the local media.

The reference to being "palanquin bearers" was clearly aimed at the Congress, which has ridden piggyback on the DMK for its electoral wins in the State.

Nehru, who is a powerful figure in the DMK as he heads the party's district unit in Trichy, said that this was only his personal opinion.

But nobody is ready to believe the clarification, as the general belief is that such a senior leader could only have been expressing a larger sentiment prevalent among the party cadre.

There is clear resentment in the DMK to some of the 'boasting' among the Tamil Nadu Congress people that they won the seats in the Lok Sabha on their own strength. The implicit suggestion is that the alliance with the DMK did not contribute much to their victory.

'Karate' Thiagarajan, a rabble-rousing TN Congress leader (Chennai District secretary of the party), has been the one making such tall claims. He recently suggested that the Congress should angle for more seats from the DMK in the local body polls expected to be held soon.

Not stopping with that, he said: “If that is not possible, at least my district unit should be allowed to contest on its own, without aligning with the DMK. I can ensure more councillors through ‘local adjustment’ with other parties."

This was indeed a provocative statement to make. The feeling in the Tamil Nadu Congress unit to be its own party is understandable. But to make such a startling claim when everyone knows that it was the alliance with the DMK that got it 8 seats in the State is rather irresponsible and silly.

Understandably, it has not gone down well with the top brass of the DMK. And KN Nehru was clearly echoing the displeasure against the Congress rampant in the DMK now.

The Congress cannot afford to antagonise the DMK now or any other time, as it is purely reaping the benefits of its association with it. The Congress in Tamil Nadu is a decrepit unit, often witness to farcical infighting.

Understanding the reality of DMK feeling offended, the Tamil Nadu Congress unit chief quickly doused the fires saying that only the central leadership of the party can talk about alliances and those going to the media with their views on the issue would be expelled from the party.

The issue may die a slow death soon.

But it also reflects the catch-22 situation that the Congress is caught in Tamil Nadu. It is now solely dependent on the mercy of the DMK.  If the party wants to grow in Tamil Nadu, it has to get out of the comforting clasps of the DMK. If it did, it will, however, be exposed as it has no real infrastructure to win anything substantial on its own.

"The central leadership has to come up with a long-term plan to salvage the party in the state. But the high command is fighting its own battles. In that sense, we are going nowhere," says a party leader ruefully.