The first Congress list for 60 out of 63 Assembly constituencies in Tamil Nadu, released on Wednesday, shows that it has retained most of its sitting MLAs, fielded six women and more than half a dozen Youth Congress members.
Finding a place on the list is former Minister S. Thirunavukkarasar, who has been elected to the Assembly six times, mostly as All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam candidate. Fielded for the first time as a Congress candidate, he will contest again from Aranthangi, his home constituency, considered his bastion.
Congress Legislature Party (CLP) whip Peter Alphonse gets one more chance in Kadayanallur to enter the Assembly for the fourth time. D. Yasodha, Deputy Leader of the CLP, will contest from Sriperumbudur.
C. Gnanasekaran, who has been returned from Vellore four times so far, will try his luck again from the same constituency.
Jayanthi Thangkabalu, wife of Tamil Nadu Congress Committee president K.V. Thangkabalu, will make her electoral debut in Mylapore.
After almost five days of frenetic consultations in Delhi, the high command gave its final seal of approval for 60 of the total 63 Congress candidates on Wednesday morning.
The party is yet to announce candidates for Ramanathapuram, Poonamallee and Tirupur (South).
S. Selvaperundhagai (Mangalore MLA), who won on a Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi ticket, but joined the Congress last year, has been accommodated with the party ticket for Chengam (reserved).
It has taken care to accommodate sitting MLAs M. Rajasekaran (Thottiyam), K R. Ramasamy (Thiruvadanai) and P. Veldurai (Cheranmahadevi), who have been affected owing to delimitation. Mr. Rajasekaran now gets to contest from Musiri, Mr. Ramasamy from Karaikudi and Mr. Veldurai from Radhapuram.
However, the sitting MLA of Sathankulam (another constituency hit by delimitation), Rani Venkatesan, deemed a loyalist of former TNCC president E.V.K.S. Elangovan, has been left out. At the same time, Mr. Elangovan's supporter R.M. Palanisamy gets one more chance to contest from Modakurichi.
The Youth Congress brigade includes its State president P. Yuvaraj (Erode (West), V.K. Arivalagan (Anna Nagar), K. Mahendran (Peravurani), Naveen Armstrong (Virudhunagar), J. Vijay Elanchezhiyan (Ambur), S.P. Varadarajan (Madurai South) and Jothi Mani (Karur).
Former State Youth Congress presidents A. Chellakumar (Theagaraya Nagar), who was an MLA for two terms, Mayura Jayakumar (Singanallur) and Vidiyal S. Sekar (Kangeyam) have also been accommodated, the last being a sitting MLA of the same constituency.
The women candidates are D. Yasodha (Sriperumbudur), Gayatri Devi (Alandur) Jayanthi Thangkabalu (Mylapore), Haseena Syed (Krishnagiri), Jothi Mani (Karur) and S.Vijayadharani (Vilavankode).
Keywords: Tamil Nadu Assembly polls