Despite 2G taint, Raja, Maran get DMK ticket

Despite 2G taint, Raja, Maran get DMK ticket

Banking on its seniors, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) renominated eight of its sitting MPs, including 2G spectrum scam accused and former Union ministers A Raja and Dayanidhi Maran for the Lok Sabha (LS) polls.

The DMK announced its 35 candidates for the April 24 LS polls in the state on Monday. Other sitting MPs who have been retained are: T R Baalu, T K S Elangovan, S Jagathrakshagan, R Thamaraiselvan, Gandhiselvan and A K S Vijayan.

However, party president Karunanidhi said that Monday’s list was subject to change, an indication that more allies could join the DMK-led Democratic Progressive Alliance.

As expected, M K Alagiri, former Union fertilisers minister and Karunanidhi’s elder son, did not figure in the list. The Madurai strongman distanced himself from the contest after he was suspended from the party.

Unlike the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, which infused young blood and ensured all candidates were at least graduates, the DMK opted for a mix of experience and youth.

Maran, who represents the Central Chennai constituency, kicked up a storm in the party and fell out of favour with Karunanidhi when he was forced to quit as the IT and Communications minister during UPA-I, following a family feud.

The two time MP also resigned from the position of minister for textiles in July 2011 following a CBI inquiry into the 2G spectrum scam.

Raja, also an accused in the 2G scam who served a jail term in Tihar, was once again given a ticket to contest from Nilgiris constituency.

When asked about the pending cases against Raja and Maran, Karunanidhi said the cases are now shaky and the situation is such that there are no witnesses to prove the charges.

A senior DMK leader said the party has selected candidates who have sound financial background to take on their political rivals and also new faces with a clean image and standing in their field, besides a number of sitting MPs.

Former Union minister Jagathrakshagan, who earlier won from Arakkonam constituency, got Sriperumbudur, as the sitting MP and former minister Baalu has decided to contest from Thanjavur.

Of the 35 candidates, 13 are lawyers, three are doctors and one engineer. Twenty six-year-old businesswoman H Pavithravalli, a MBA graduate contesting from Erode constituency, is the youngest. She is one of the two women candidates in the fray.  Of the 40 constituencies–39 in Tamil Nadu and one in Puducherry–the DMK has allotted five seats to its four allies.

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