Stalin’s son makes electoral debut, DMK to face AIADMK in 122 seats
- Udhayanidhi Stalin will make his electoral debut from Chepauk-Tiruvallikeni.
DMK president MK Stalin will seek a third term from his Kolathur constituency for the April 6 Assembly elections while son Udhayanidhi will make his electoral debut from Chepauk-Tiruvallikeni. The opposition party is pitted in a direct fight with its arch-rival and ruling AIADMK in 122 seats.
On Friday, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) announced candidates for 173 seats, three days after the party in power for a decade, the AIADMK, announced a list of 177 candidates. Both major Dravidian parties have avoided any surprises in their candidate lists and have opted for tested and senior party leaders.
Since many of the parties, including Vaiko-led MDMK, will be contesting on DMK's 'Rising Sun' symbol, the lead partner will be in the fray in 187 seats, Stalin said while releasing the candidate list. DMK has allotted 61 seats to its allies, with the Congress taking the lion's share of 25.
Nearly half of the 173 nominees were sitting MLAs including seniors Durai Murugan, KN Nehru, K Ponmudi, MRK Panneerselvam, P Geetha Jeevan and Poongothai Aladi Aruna - all former ministers, besides legislators such as TRB Raja, Anitha Radhakrishnan, SR Raja, M Subramanian and R Sakkarapani.
Udhayanidhi will fight from the Chepauk-Triplicane constituency, represented by the late J Anbazhagan who succumbed to Covid-19 last year. Udhayanidhi, an actor-producer, is a third-generation politician from the DMK's first family, following in the footsteps of his late grandfather and former DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi and father Stalin.
The big fights will be between DMK’s Senthil Balaji and transport minister MR Vijayabaskar in Karur. Former AIADMK strongman, Thanga Tamilselvan, who quit and joined TTV Dhinakaran's Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) and later the DMK, has been given the ticket from Bodinayakanur to face-off with deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam.
Paneerselveam, who has won this seat from 2011, filed his nominations which opened for Tamil Nadu on Friday and will go on till March 19. Relatively lesser known T Sampathkumar will take on chief minister Edapaddi K Palanaswami on his home turf, Edappadi. “He may be an ordinary man but he has the potential to win,” Stalin said.
Former mayors of Chennai, AIADMK’s Saidai Duraisamy and DMK’s Ma Subramanian will clash in Saidapet - the latter is the incumbent. Environment activist and pro-Jallikattu crusader Karthikeya Senapathy, who joined the DMK in 2020, will go head-on with AIADMK heavyweight and minister for municipal administration SP Velumani in his stronghold of Thondamuthur constituency in Coimbatore.
The DMK has retained its party veterans, sitting MLAs and prominent faces across the assembly seats such as party general secretary S Durai Murugan, Thangam Thennarsu, Palanivel Thiagaran, PK Sekhar Babu, former state IT minister Poongothai Aladi Aruna.
In Trichy, from where Stalin launched his ten-year vision for Tamil Nadu last week, party principal secretary and Trichy West MLA KN Nehru is fielded from the same seat while another third-generation party leader and Udhaynidhi’s close aide Anbil Mahesh Poyyamozhi will seek re-election from Thiruverumbur constituency.
The party has fielded only 13 women. Stalin will file his nomination on March 15 and continue his campaign, he said.
The DMK-led coalition will seek to oust the BJP-AIADMK alliance and return to power after a gap of a decade. BJP state vice-president and former minister in the AIADMK government Nainar Nagendran filed his nomination in the Tirunelveli assembly segment even before the BJP announced its candidates. Nagendran told reporters that he did so because it was an auspicious day. The BJP has so far identified only 20 assembly constituencies and is likely to announce candidates on Saturday.
This is the first assembly election after the demise of towering leaders J Jayalalithaa and M Karunanidhi.
Professor Nilofar Khan, who has 30 years of teaching experience, has been appointed as the first woman vice-chancellor of the University of Kashmir, officials said on Thursday. The order of appointment was issued by Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir Manoj Sinha in his capacity of being the chancellor of the university. She will be replacing Professor Talat Ahmad, who completed his second tenure as the V-C of the university which began in August 2018.
Given the spike in terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir and threats issued by various terror outfits, the upcoming annual Amarnath Yatra starting June 30 to the cave shrine at 13,000ft in south Kashmir is going to be a litmus test for the government. One of the most revered Hindu pilgrimages in India, the yatra is resuming after two years.
Jammu divisional commissioner Ramesh Kumar along with additional director general of police, Jammu, Mukesh Singh, handed over an appointment letter and ex gratia to the family of Rahul Bhat, a migrant Kashmiri Pandit government employee who was gunned down in the Valley recently. A financial assistance of ₹5 lakh was also handed over to the family. Jammu deputy commissioner Avny Lavasa had also accompanied Kumar.
Following the conviction of banned JKLF chief Yasin Malik by a Delhi court in a terror funding case on Thursday, wife of late Squadron Leader Ravi Khanna, Shalini Khanna, said she was confident of getting justice for Yasin Malik. “Bad deeds lead to bad outcomes,” said the 70-year-old, while demanding Malik be sent to the gallows. Squadron leader Khanna was shot 27 times with an AK assault rifle.
The Jammu and Kashmir Police on Thursday claimed to have solved the Baramulla grenade attack case on a liquor shop with the arrest of four Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists and a terror associate. The police identified the four militants as Shahid Showkat Bala, Safeer Ahmad Mir, Moh Maroof Saleh and Faisal Shaban Gojri, all residents of Baramulla while their associate Hatif Ahmad Sofi was from Arampora.