Impact of the 2G scam has left top DMK leaders scurrying for cover, and they are all headed to rural areas.
The leaders believe constituencies in these areas will be “safer” than towns and cities because that’s where they expect least impact of the telecom scam. Also, villages are the best show pieces for the DMK government’s social welfare schemes, say party officials.
Already the buzz is that Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi will contest from his birthplace Tiruvarur after representing seats from Chennai for several years.
Even his son MK Stalin, the deputy CM, is rumoured to be keen on contesting from the ‘safe’ Palayamkottai — a rural constituency in Tirunelveli district — instead of the Thousand Lights constituency in Chennai.
Karunanidhi’s trusted minister Arcot Veerasamy also does not want to contest from Anna Nagar in Chennai city and would prefer a rural seat.
Senior DMK leaders have been citing their age to bolster the “request” for migration from urban constituencies and want it to be considered on “compassionate grounds” as this would be their “last” election.
But, Karunanidhi’s elder son and Union minister MK Alagiri is dead against “wasting” ticket on old faces. He wants fresh, younger candidates to face the challenge from ADMK chief Jayalalithaa who also wants new candidates to refurbish her party’s image.
The DMK search for ‘safe’ seats faces another hurdle, the Congress. The ally, which will contest from 63 constituencies, is now bargaining for “winnable” seats.
When Congress chief Sonia Gandhi met Alagiri and Dayanidhi Maran in the run-up to the final deal on seats, she put a question, “how many seats do you expect to win?” That now seems to haunt the DMK leaders more than ever.
The alliance with the Congress is also crucial for Alagiri’s plan to win maximum seats from southern Tamil Nadu. The Congress has more influence in constituencies there than in the north where it shares votebank with the DMK and PMK.