Late DMK chief M Karunanidhi’s daughter Kanimozhi, former Union ministers T R Baalu, Dayanidhi Maran and A Raja are among 20 candidates fielded by the DMK for the high-stakes April 18 Lok Sabha polls, while the ruling AIADMK has re-nominated Lok Sabha deputy speaker M Thambidurai and its Lok Sabha floor leader P Venugopal.
The PMK, which is part of the AIADMK alliance, renominated former Union health minister Anbumani Ramadoss from Dharmapuri and named former Union minister A K Moorthy as its candidate from Arakkonam.
In the DMK, former Union minister S Jagathrakshagan, Kadir Anand, son of DMK treasurer Durai Murugan, and Tamizhachi Thangapandian, daughter of late DMK veteran Thangapandian, have been fielded from Arakkonam, Vellore and South Chennai constituencies.
Kanimozhi will test her electoral waters for the first time from Thoothukudi, recently in news for the police firing during the anti-Sterlite protests, while Raja and Maran will seek re-election from their strongholds of Nilgiris and Central Chennai. Kanimozhi’s Rajya Sabha term ends in July this year.
Baalu, former Union shipping minister, has been fielded from Sriperumbudur while Dr Kalanidhi Veerasamy, son of former DMK minister Arcot N Veerasamy, is the candidate in North Chennai. The party has fielded 12 new faces, while giving a chance to S R Parthiban, who switched over from actor Vijayakant’s DMDK on the eve of 2016 Assembly elections, from Salem.
The AIADMK, which has chosen ‘safe seats’ across the state due to the double-barrel challenge from a resurgent DMK and rebel T T V Dhinakaran, has fielded Thambidurai from Karur for the third time and Venugopal from Tiruvallur near Chennai.
It replaced sitting MP from Tiruppur, V Sathyabama, with M S M Anandan and brought in former minister ‘Agri’ Krishnamoorthy, who was removed by late J Jayalalithaa in connection with the death of a senior official of his department. Retaining just one out of three seats in Chennai, the AIADMK re-nominated sitting MP J Jayavardhan from South Chennai constituency.
The DMK and AIADMK are contesting in 20 seats each on their own after having allotted remaining 20 seats, including the lone Puducherry seat, among their allies. The AIADMK has chosen to contest the majority of seats from West, where it is strong and has allotted ten out of seven seats in southern districts to allies, apparently due to the threat posed by Dhinakaran.
For the first time, the AIADMK and DMK will have a direct contest only in 9 seats — South Chennai, Tiruvannamalai, Kancheepuram, Salem, Nilgiris, Pollachi, Mayiladuthurai, Tirunelveli and Vellore, which is contested by A C Shanmugam of New Justice Party on AIADMK’s “Two Leaves’ symbol.
The Congress and BJP will face each other in Sivaganga and Kanniyakumari, while the DMK and PMK will face each other in all seven constituencies, including Villupuram allotted to VCK.