Former Union telecommunications minister A Raja, who spent 15 months in jail for his alleged involvement in 2G scam, was on Monday named as DMK's Lok Sabha candidate from Nilgiris in western Tamil Nadu.
Justifying Raja's candidature, DMK supremo M Karunanidhi said the cases against the former minister were already tottering and would eventually collapse.
"It would be proven that they did nothing wrong," Karunanidhi told reporters, referring to other party leaders, such as Dayanidhi Maran, who also face corruption charges.
Releasing the party's list of candidates for the 40 Lok Sabha seats in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, the DMK chief said that "it will be proven that they did not do anything wrong.
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While Maran would contest from Chennai Central, former Union ministers TR Baalu and S Jegathrakshakan would be contesting from Thanjavur and Sriperumbudur respectively.
All these former union ministers face allegations of corruption against them. Maran had to quit the textiles ministry after serious allegations of bribery and wrongdoing were leveled against him. His residence was also raided by the central investigating officers two years ago.
On being asked as to why there were not many women candidates on DMK list, Karunanidhi quipped in lighter vein that "one woman is shaking up the state", in an obvious reference to Jayalalithaa.
The DMK has accommodated its allies in four places. By doing so, it closed its doors on the Congress and the Left, a section of which wanted to align with DMK after being driven out by the AIADMK.
Except for the AIADMK, no other political party here in Tamil Nadu wanted to comment on the nomination of scam-tainted Raja. The BJP TN in chagre Muralidhar Rao chose not to answer a question on A Raja.
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Interestingly, even CPM played it safe, with its state leader G Ramakrishnan seeking time till Tuesday afternoon to react to the development.
The AIADMK, predictably, attacked the DMK and its former ally Congress as well on the issue of issue.
AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa chose to remain silent on the development, but former finance minister and senior AIADMK leader C Ponnaian said, "This only shows the DMK and its former ally do not think corruption is at all an issue in elections."
"Raja has earned for DMK chief Karunanidhi hundreds of crores of rupees and Karunanidhi fielded him to show his gratitude.
The DMK power play displayed through the selection of Lok Sabha candidates had another side story playing out in the open.
With Karunanidhi's younger son and DMK treasurer MK Stalin controlling the party apparatus, it came as no surprise that the name of his elder brother and former Union minister MK Alagiri was missing from the Madurai constituency he currently represents.
A piqued Alagiri announced that he would float his own party after discussing the issue with supporters. But this would happen only after elections, he told press persons.
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