Stealing a march on her political rivals, AIADMK general secretary and Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa released the list of candidates for all 40 Lok Sabha seats in Tamil Nadu and neighbouring Union Territory of Puducherry that will go to poll in a few weeks.
Though the announcement came unilaterally before concluding seat-sharing talks with the two Left parties, Jaya said her candidates would be withdrawn from the seats allotted to the CPM and CPI at the conclusion of the talks.
She has also charted out the first leg of her campaign starting March 3 covering 19 constituencies, focussing mainly on the south region where the party has traditionally been strong. The campaign will be on a “peace-prosperity-progress” platform, Jaya said at the party headquarters on Monday, amid grand celebrations themed ‘Amma as PM’ to mark her 66th birthday on Monday. “I will focus only on the 40 seats and will work hard from win from all,” she said.
Among those who greeted her on her birthday were Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Governor K Rosaiah and Gujarat CM Narendra Modi.
However, it still is a tall task for the AIADMK to win as many seats as Jaya hopes to. Of the nine who won in the last general elections, only three have found a place in the list released Monday: M Thambi Durai, P Kumar and P Venugopal. Including Venugopal, there are four medical practitioners in the list while 15 candidates have law degrees. There are four women in the list.
A good majority of the candidates are low-profile party cadre, including some who are local body representatives. From the list, at least four will have to be removed to accommodate Left candidates.