After having spent 12 years in the Rajya Sabha, DMK’s point person in the national capital, Kanimozhi, will in all probability make her debut in Lok Sabha polls for the first time from the Pearl City of Thoothukudi in southern Tamil Nadu.
Kanimozhi, whose Rajya Sabha term ends in July, has decided to shift to the Lok Sabha and her proposal has been approved by her half-brother and DMK president M K Stalin. Along with Kanimozhi, another family member Dayanidhi Maran, former Union telecom minister, is also expected to get a ticket from Central Madras, a constituency represented by his father for long and twice by him.
“That is the reason she has been holding grama sabha meetings in Thoothukudi district. Since she wants to contest from there, she has been focussing on the district and has been working there quietly,” a senior leader told DH. Stalin deputed her to hold grama sabhas in Thoothukudi on Kanimozhi’s request, the leader said, adding that the meetings have helped her get to know the pulse of the people.
Grama Sabha meetings are being organised by the DMK as part of its people’s outreach to “expose” the Centre and state governments.
As Rajya Sabha member, Kanimozhi developed a close rapport with Congress leaders which helped the DMK to conclude the seat-sharing pact with the national party in a smooth manner, party leaders said.
Though the party is yet to announce Kanimozhi’s candidature officially, the DMK unit in Thoothukudi headed by MLA Geetha Jeevan, whose father Periyasamy wielded considerable influence in the area, has been sounded out and asked to ensure her victory.
Thoothukudi Lok Sabha seat is considered safe for Kanimozhi for more than one reason, party leaders said. With Nadars, the business community to which Kanimozhi’s mother belongs, forming a huge chunk of voters in the constituency and the Congress by its side, DMK feels its prominent woman face in the party will face no problem from Thoothukudi.
“Also, the party is strong in the district owing to influence of leaders like late Periyasamy and Anitha Radhakrishnan, who is an MLA from neighbouring Tiruchendur constituency,” another leader said. Thoothukudi was formed in 2009 after delimitation and the DMK and AIADMK have won the seat once each.
The DMK also hopes to milk the sentiments against Sterlite Copper, protests against whom turned violent resulting in the death of 13 civilians in police firing, in its favour. Stalin and Kanimozhi visited Pearl City after the police firing and consoled the victims’ families.