Chennai: Arch-rivals – the ruling AIADMK and the opposition DMK will face off in eight seats in Tamil Nadu in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Both the parties will be in straight contest in South Chennai, Kancheepuram (SC), Tiruvannamalai, Tirunelveli, Mayiladuthurai, Salem, Nilgiris (SC) and Pollachi. Both AIADMK and DMK are contesting on 20 seats each in the state, allotting the remaining 19 to their respective allies.
The lists announced on Sunday by the two parties comprises several prominent personalities, including Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai (AIADMK) and Rajya Sabha member Kanimozhi (DMK).
Thambidurai will seek re-election from Karur, while P Venugopal and J Jeyavardhan – MPs from Tiruvallur (SC) and South Chennai respectively – will contest from the same constituencies as last time. P Ravindranath Kumar, son of Deputy Chief Minister and AIADMK coordinator O Panneerselvam, will contest from Theni constituency.
The ruling party, which has allotted 19 other seats in Tamil Nadu to its allies, including the BJP and Paattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), released its list of candidates after deliberations at party headquarters late Sunday night.
Earlier in the day, releasing the list of candidates, DMK president M K Stalin said Dayanidhi Maran will contest from Central Chennai, A Raja from Nilgiris (SC) and T R Baalu from Sriperumbudur constituencies, which they had won in 2009.
Stalin’s sister and Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi will for the first time try her luck in the Lok Sabha polls as she had been fielded in Tuticorin constituency in southern Tamil Nadu. Her Rajya Sabha term ends in July this year. The DMK has fielded a total of 12 fresh faces for the polls. The DMK is contesting on 20 out of the 39 Lok Sabha seats in the state, leaving the rest to its allies, including Congress.
The party had drawn a blank in the 2014 polls when it contested on 34 seats while its arch-rival AIADMK romped home winning 37 segments. The Congress had failed to win a single seat. Stalin told reporters the DMK’s manifesto will be released soon. The DMK also named its candidates for bypolls in 18 assembly constituencies in the state to be held along with the Lok Sabha polls on April 18.
Former union ministers S Jagathrakshakan and S S Palanimanickam have been fielded from Arakkonam and Thanjavur constituencies. T Sumathi alias Tamizhachi Thangapandian, a noted Tamil orator, will contest from Chennai South, Kalanidhi Veerasamy from Chennai North and D M Kathir Anand, son of party treasurer Durai Murugan, from Vellore.
While Tamizhachi is the daughter of late DMK leader V Thangapandian and sister of former state minister Thangam Thennarasu, Kalanidhi is the son of former state minister Arcot N Veerasamy. Similarly, in Kallakurichi, former state minister K Ponmudi’s son Gowtham Sigamani has been fielded.
Other candidates of the DMK are: G Selvam (Kancheepuram-SC), S Senthilkumar (Dharmapuri), C N Annadurai (Tiruvannamalai), S R Parthiban (Salem), K Shanmugasundaram (Pollachi), P Velusamy (Dindigul), T R V S Sriramesh (Cuddalore), S Ramalingam (Mayiladuthurai), Dhanush M Kumar (Thenkasi-SC), and S Gnanathiraviam (Tirunelveli).
Stalin released the list of candidates after visiting the mausoleum of his late father and party patriarch M Karunanidhi at the Marina beach here.
The AIADMK’s list included the name of Panneerselvam’s lieutenant and senior leader K P Munsamy. Agri SS Krishnamurthi, and M S M Anandan, both former ministers will fight from Tiruvannamalai and Tirupur constituencies.
Also, N R Sivapathi, a former minister has been fielded from Perambalur seat and former MP and party’s organising secretary P H Manoj Pandian will contest from Tirunelveli. S Asaimani (Mayiladuthurai), Po Chandrasekar (Chidambaram-SC) are among the other candidates.
The party also released its list of 18 candidates for the bypolls to the Tamil Nadu Assembly, to be held along with the Lok Sabha polls. The PMK, an ally of the AIADMK, also released its list for five of the seven Lok Sabha seats allotted to it, fielding Anbumani Ramadoss from Dharmapuri again. Former Union minister A K Moorthy will contest from Arakkonam.