Telangana Governor’s father in race for Congress ticket for TN bypoll
Kumari Ananthan is a front runner for a Congress ticket for the bypoll to the Nanguneri assembly seat which fell vacant after his younger brother H Vasanthkumar resigned following his election to the Lok Sabha.Updated: Sep 24, 2019 20:44 IST
Congress veteran and Telangana governor Tamilisai Soundararajan’s father, 86-year-old Kumari Ananthan is in the race for a ticket to contest the assembly bypoll for the Nanguneri seat in Tamil Nadu after it ally DMK allotted the seat to it.
Bypolls for Nanguneri in southern Tirunelveli district and Vikravandi in Villupuram are slated for October 21. Nanguneri held by the Congress fell vacant after the incumbent MLA and Ananthan’s younger brother H Vasanthakumar resigned following his election to the Lok Sabha from Kanyakumari. The bypoll in Vikravandi has been necessitated due to the death of DMK legislator K Radhamani.
The DMK has stolen a march over its rival, the ruling AIADMK, by announcing the name of senior party leader, N Pughazhendhi for Vikravandi. Party president MK Stalin made the announcement on Tuesday at the party headquarters, Anna Arivalayam. But, the Congress is yet to decide on its candidate for Nanguneri.
Till the DMK’s announcement on Saturday, leaving Nanguneri for the Congress, the latter had been unsure of it. Less than a fortnight ago, the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee (TNCC) had issued a show cause notice to its Tirunelveli (East) District Secretary, for passing a resolution staking claim for the seat in the bypoll. This was seen as an attempt to keep the DMK in good humour.
DMK youth wing chief Udhayanidhi Stalin had earlier expressed the desire that the party should contest in Nanguneri when bypoll is announced. Now, Stalin’s announcement, allotting the seat to the Congress has come as a great relief to the national party. But, it is still scouting for a candidate.
Prominent among those seeking a Congress ticket is the party’s old warhorse, Kumari Ananthan who once headed the TNCC. His daughter, Tamilisai was the former BJP chief in Tamil Nadu before she took charge as the governor of Telangana earlier this month. The constituency has a concentration of the mercantile Nadar community, listed as OBC to which Ananthan belongs.
Ananthan’s prospects got a boost with TNCC president Alagiri backing him. “The senior leader could possibly be a candidate for Nanguneri,” Alagiri said adding that applications from aspirants would be finalised on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Ananthan exuded confidence of winning if he contested the seat. “I will raise language imposition, farmers distress, total prohibition and other pressing issues,” he told reporters.
The AIADMK is likely to finalise its candidates for both the seats on Tuesday. Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, who are convenor and joint convenor of the AIADMK, interviewed prospective candidates on Monday.
While the ultra-nationalist Naam Tamilar Katchi of filmmaker Seeman is entering the fray, both Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) of Kamal Hassan and Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) of TTV Dhinakaran are staying away from the bypoll.
“Bypolls are a trial of strength between the party in power and the party that was in power prior to that. MNM is focused on capturing power in the 2021 assembly poll,” was Kamal Hassan’s rationale for not contesting the bypolls.
Dhinakaran’s party is yet to be allotted a symbol by the Election Commission.
“Till the AMMK gets a symbol of its own, the party will not contest bye-elections,” he explained.