Closing the doors for Congress barring a last-minute u-turn, the DMK on Monday announced candidates for the 35 seats it would contest in the Lok Sabha elections in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, denying ticket to party supremo’s son M K Alagiri while renominating 2G scam accused A Raja and Dayanidhi Maran.
Sending a strong signal that the party would quell rebellion with a strong hand, the party refused nomination 10 for sitting MPs, including a former Minister of State S S Palanimanickam, while renominating 8 MPs including T R Baalu.
Releasing the list at a hurriedly-convened press conference, DMK President M Karunanidhi said said the remaining five seats have been allocated to its allies VCK, IUML, MMK and PT. While Tamil Nadu has 39 Lok Sabha seats, Puducherry has one.
By naming candidates for all the 35 seats in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, DMK has clearly signalled that it has shut its doors to the Congress, its former ally, with which it had snapped ties in March last year over the Sri Lankan Tamils issue.
There has been speculation lately that DMK might get Congress back into his alliance in view of the fact that BJP was on the verge of tying up a formidable alliance. An isolated Congress may have to fight the poll all alone with none of the Dravidian or local outfits coming forward to forge a poll truck with it.
The spectre of 1998 Lok Sabha scene when Congress contested 35 seats on its own and drew a blank seems to haunt the party now. Congress had won nine seats in 2009 when it contested 16 in constituencies in alliance with DMK. The DMK not only denied ticket to Madurai constituency MP and its strongman in southern parts, Alagiri, whom it suspended from DMK in January for acts of indiscipline, but also to his supporters, D Napolean (Perambalur) and J K Rithieesh (Ramanathapuram).
Baalu who represented Sriperumbudur Lok Sabha seat has been shifted to Thanjavur, which was held by Palanimanickam in all the five elections since 1996. T K S Elangovan will contest from South Chennai instead of North Chennai, the seat he currently holds.
Answering queries from reporters, Karunanidhi stoutly defended fielding of Raja and Maran, saying “charges against them are weak”. Evading a direct reply to Alagiri’s reported remarks that he was in touch with his supporters to float a new party, and that he may take a decision in a month or two about it, the DMK patriarch shot back saying, “this (press conference) is intended to announce the DMK candidates list. Please do not ask hurting questions”. V Veluchamy has been named for Madurai.
Flanked by his son and daughter, Stalin and Kanimozhi, besides DMK General Secretary K Anbazhagan and other leaders, Karunanidhi said today’s list was subject to change, seen as an indication that some more allies could join his party-led Democratic Progressive Alliance (DPA).
He, however, said no parleys had been held with the two Left parties, CPI-M and CPI, who had walked out of AIADMK alliance last week, miffed over the Jayalalithaa-led party’s approach towards seat-sharing talks.