Stalin’s son makes electoral debut, DMK to face AIADMK in 122 seats

  • Udhayanidhi Stalin will make his electoral debut from Chepauk-Tiruvallikeni.
Chennai: Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) President MK Stalin's son and party's Youth Wing Secretary Udhayanidhi Stalin (L) being greeted by party general secretary Durai Murugan. (PTI)
Chennai: Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) President MK Stalin's son and party's Youth Wing Secretary Udhayanidhi Stalin (L) being greeted by party general secretary Durai Murugan. (PTI)
Published on Mar 12, 2021 11:06 PM IST
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ByDivya Chandrababu, Chennai

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.

Also read: Tamil Nadu assembly elections - AMMK releases third list of candidates for polls

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.

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