Updated: March 13, 2021 5:25:23 pm
The 2021 Tamil Nadu assembly election is all charged up after the major parties announced their list of candidates. The AIADMK is eyeing a record third straight term while the DMK is keen to wrest power from their arch-rival after being in the opposition for 10 years. Seeman’s Naam Tamizhar and other new entrants like TTV Dhinakaran’s AMMK, Actor Kamal Haasan’s MNM are also looking to make inroads and secure a berth to the legislative assembly.
The AIADMK’s chief ministerial candidate Edappadi K Palaniswami will be contesting from Edappadi (Salem District) constituency. He has contested in six assembly elections and managed to win four of them. Against Edappadi, DMK has fielded party’s Salem (West) deputy secretary T Sampath Kumar. This will be the debut election for the 37-year-old Kumar.
Responding to a question why the party has chosen a lesser-known face against a tall leader like Edappadi K Palaniswami, DMK President MK Stalin said Sampath might be a lesser known candidate but he is a victorious candidate.
While the DMK nominated a novice against the incumbent chief minister, the AIADMK has fielded veteran politician Adhi Rajaram against MK Stalin in the Kolathur (Chennai) constituency. Rajaram had faced Stalin earlier in 2006 assembly elections in Thousand Lights where he was defeated by the latter by less than 3000 votes. In Kolathur, Stalin has contested twice in 2011 and 2016 and has emerged victorious on both occasions.
In Bodinayakkanur (Theni district), DMK’s propaganda secretary Thanga Tamilselvan has been pitted against the incumbent Deputy Chief Minister and AIADMK’s coordinator O Panneerselvam. Tamilsevan, a former Rajya Sabha MP and three-time AIADMK MLA joined AMMK in support of TTV Dhinakaran before shifting his base to DMK in 2019. Both Tamilselvan and Pannerselvam have never been defeated in the assembly elections. Both leaders who were part of the same party in all these elections will face each other for the first time.
All eyes are on the Chepauk-Triplicane constituency which fell vacant after the demise of DMK MLA J Anbazhagan. DMK president MK Stalin’s son and party’s youth-wing secretary Udhayanidhi Stalin will be making his electoral debut in this constituency which is considered to be a DMK bastion. Udhayanidhi will battle against PMK’s Kassali.
In Thondamuthur (Coimbatore district), the fight will be between incumbent Minister for Municipal Administration and AIADMK’s organising secretary SP Velumani and DMK’s Karthikeya Sivasenapathy, the managing trustee of Senaapathy Kangayam Cattle Research Foundation (SKCRF), an NGO working for the welfare of native cattle breeds. Velumani in 2011 and 2016 defeated his opponents by a margin of more than 50,000 votes. This will be the debut election for Sivasenapathy who shot to fame during the Jallikattu protests at Marina Beach in 2017.
In Karur, it will be a battle between Transport Minister MR Vijayabaskar and Aravakkurichi DMK MLA V Senthil Balaji. Balaji, a former AIADMK Minister lost his MLA seat after he shifted to TTV Dhinakaran’s camp. He joined DMK in 2018. He contested in Aravkurichi by-polls and was re-elected to the legislative assembly. Senthil Balaji has contested in Karur constituency previously in 2006, 2011 and won on both occasions. In 2016 elections, Vijayabaskar managed to defeat Congress candidate K Subramanian by a meager margin of fewer than 500 votes.
In Royapuram (Chennai), Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar is contesting for the seventh time. Since 1991, he has been contesting in the same constituency had has emerged victorious on five occasions. Against Jayakumar, DMK has nominated businessman and theatre baron i-Dream Murthy.
In Saidapet, it is set to be a clash of former city Mayors. DMK’s Ma Subramanian will take on AIADMK’s Saidai Duraisamy. The veteran politicians have been elected to the assembly from the constituency on previous occasions.
In Aruppukotai (Virudhunagar district), DMK’s incumbent MLA KKSS Ramachandran will take on former AIADMK Minister S Vaigaiselvan. This will be the third occasion these two will be locking horns with each other. In 2011, Vaigaichelvan was elected and in 2016, Ramachandran won by more than 18,000 votes.
In Thiruvottiyur (Chennai), Naam Tamilar Katchi coordinator Seeman is contesting against former AIADMK MLA K Kuppan and late DMK Minister KPP Samy’s brother KP Shankar, who will be making his electoral debut.
In Kovilpatti (Thoothukudi district), Tamil Nadu Information and publicity minister Kadambur C Raju will take on AMMK leader TTV Dhinakaran. Raju is eyeing a hat-trick victory in this constituency after emerging victorious in the 2011 and 2016 elections. Dhinakaran won the 2017 RK Nagar by-polls by defeating AIADMK’s E Madhusudhanan by more than 40,000 votes.
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