Congress fields realtor in TN, cable operator in Puducherry for Oct 21 bypolls
The Congress party has fielded a Chennai-based realtor for the October 21 bypolls for Nanguneri in Tamil Nadu and named a cable operator for the Kamaraj Nagar seat in neighbouring Puducherry.
The candidature of Ruby Manoharan for Nanguneri and John Kumar for Kamaraj Nagar has been approved by party president Sonia Gandhi, according to Congress general secretary Mukul Wasnik. He made this announcement in separate media releases on Friday night and on Saturday respectively, bringing to an end the hectic lobbying for the party ticket.
Manoharan is a native of Kaniyakumari district but settled in Chennai. He runs a construction firm and has been pitted against the ruling AIADMK’s ‘Reddiyapatti’ V Narayanan, who is also a realtor. The constituency in southern Tirunelveli district is held by the Congress.
For Nanguneri, there were two other strong contenders in the race, including party veteran Kumari Ananthan. The 86-year-old Ananthan is the father of Telangana governor and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Tamilisai Soundararajan. According to party sources, while age was not in favour of Ananthan, resourcefulness to take care of the expenditure in a bypoll clinched it for Manoharan.
The Nanguneri seat fell vacant after the incumbent H Vasanthakumar resigned following his election to the Lok Sabha from Kanniyakumari. Vasanthakumar is Ananthan’s brother. But, till the DMK allotted the seat to the Congress, the national party was not sure of contesting the bypoll.
The DMK is contesting in Vikravandi in Villupuram district, the other seat from the state going to the bypoll, necessitated by the death of DMK legislator K Radhamani. The AIADMK has fielded a lower-rung party functionary, Muthamizh Selvan there.
The ruling AIADMK is determined to wrest both the seats and consolidate its majority in the assembly. It had managed to save the government by bagging nine out of the 22 assembly seats in the bypoll held along with the Lok Sabha elections earlier this year. The DMK had won 13 seats, of which 12 were held by the AIADMK.
At present, the AIADMK has 123 seats, DMK 100, IUML one, Independent (TTV Dhinakaran) one with two seats vacant in the House of 234.
In Puducherry, the Congress has named John Kumar as its nominee in Kamaraj Nagar. A former lottery seller and at present owner of the largest cable network in the Union Territory, he will take on the All India NR Congress (AINRC) of former Chief Minister N Rangasamy.
Earlier, Kumar had quit his assembly seat, Nellithope, paving the way for the election of Chief Minister V Narayanasamy to the territorial assembly. And in anticipation of securing the party ticket, he had resigned as the special representative of Puducherry in New Delhi.
The Kamaraj Nagar seat fell vacant following the sitting legislator and assembly speaker V Vaithilingam’s election to the Lok Sabha.
The last date for filing of nominations is Monday and the results will be announced on October 24.