Children and close relatives of top AIADMK leaders, including Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, Deputy CM O Panneerselvam and at least four other ministers, are in the race to contest the 2019 Lok Sabha polls as the ruling party’s candidates.
While Panneerselvam’s son P Ravindranath Kumar, who is camping in Chennai, got his application form on Tuesday, Palaniswami’s loyalists have paid Rs 25,000 and bought application forms for Mithun Kumar, the CM’s son. The deadline for filing of applications will expire after three days.
Sources close to Panneerselvam confirmed that he wants his son to contest, but it remains unclear whether Palaniswami supports his son’s candidature too.
A senior minister said Panneerselvam has informed the party about his demand for a seat for his son from Theni constituency. “He sounded like the party cannot deny his son’s application. He told the top leaders that he is even willing to quit as deputy CM if that is necessary for his son’s candidature,” the minister said.
The AIADMK’s stand on Mithun’s candidature is yet to be seen as he was never involved in party affairs and was taking care of businesses in his native town Salem.
Other top leaders who are battling for seats for their close ones are Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar, Law Minister C Ve Shanmugam, Industries Minister M C Sampath and Municipal Administration Minister S P Velumani.
Multiple sources in the AIADMK headquarters in Chennai said the top leadership sounded positive over the entry of these relatively young faces.
A senior leader close to Palaniswami said, “Some of them have already collected application, some have plans. But a Ravindranath or Mithun becoming an MP is not a family dynasty just because their fathers are top leaders. Family dynasty is when children like Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi, M K Stalin and Kanimozhi get elevated with exclusive powers to control an entire party.”
AIADMK organising secretary Ponnaiyan said any one can get an application form. “Local popularity, contribution to the party are going to be the major criteria in getting a seat,” he said.