This is the third time that the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) has changed its candidate for the Rajya Sabha elections.
The AIADMK replaced its candidate Adhi Rajaram with N. Thalavai Sundaram in the 1996 Rajya Sabha polls, and Saravana Perumal with K. Thangamuthu in the 2013 election for different reasons.
In the 1996 elections, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa initially nominated Thambi Venkatachalam of Dharmapuri district, R. K. Kumar, Chartered Accountant of Chennai, Niraikulathan of Ramanathapuram, P. Soundararajan of Tirunelveli and Adhi Rajaram, south Madras district secretary.
The nomination of Mr. Adhi Rajam created a flutter, as he was the prime accused in the advocate Vijayan assault case. Mr. Vijayan, who had filed a public litigation case challenging the State’s 69 per cent reservation policy, was assaulted by a group near his house. Mr.Adhi Rajaram was out on bail when the party nominated him as candidate.
As the issue snowballed into a major controversy, Mr. Adhi Rajaram withdrew from the contest in the interest of ‘protecting the fair name’ of party general secretary. The AIADMK then nominated N. Thalavai Sundaram, secretary of the party’s legal wing.
In the 2013 elections, Saravana Perumal of Tuticorin, the then secretary of the AIADMK students wing, was nominated as a candidate. His nomination too raised eyebrows of many as he was the prime accused in a criminal case filed against him and three others under various provisions of the Customs Act and Foreign Exchange Regulation Act apart from the Indian Penal Code, on charges of smuggling 3,578 kg of silver ingots worth Rs. 2.50 crore in 1989. Ms. Jayalalithaa replaced him with K. Thangamuthu of Thanjavur, secretary of the party’s farmer’s wing. He filed his nomination, but withdrew in favour of CPI leader D. Raja.