The ‘dynastic politics syndrome’ is no longer confined to any single party. It is seen across the political spectrum, as the candidates list of the top political parties in Tamil Nadu for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls shows. The trend, though, is more pronounced in some parties like the Congress.
When he launched the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), founder S. Ramadoss declared that none of his family members would enter politics. Years later, Anbumani Ramadoss, a doctor by training, justified his foray saying that he also had the right to choose a path for himself. Dr. Ramadoss is now again in the fray for the Dharmapuri seat, contesting on the PMK’s ‘Mango’ symbol.
Karti Chidambaram, Congress candidate for the Sivaganga constituency this time says, “My career in the Congress was not fast-tracked because I am the son of P. Chidambaram. In fact, on many occasions, the status denied me opportunities even though I have been in active politics since 1996, when the Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC) was formed”.
As administrative work kept his high-profile father busy in the Central government, it was his son who took care of the follow-up work in Sivaganga, even as he emerged as a leader of a major group within the Congress in his own right, on par with leaders like G. K. Vasan, son of the late Congress veteran, G.K. Moopanar.
A.P.C.V. Shanmugam is another son testing the waters after a long gap of 25 years. Son of A.P.C. Veerabahau, the TNCC President between 1969 and 1971, Mr. Shanmugam is contesting from Tuticorin Lok Sabha constituency.
Another former TNCC president, M. Krishnasamy, and a sitting MP elected from Arani, has now given way to his son, Vishnu Prasad. A former MLA, Mr. Vishnu Prasad is the candidate for Arani in the ensuing polls. Prasad is also the brother-in-law of Dr. Anbumani Ramadoss, but still face challenges from the PMK, also in the race there.
Naesey Rajesh, the candidate for Arakkonam constituency, is the son of Naesey Ramachandran, who had his roots in the AIADMK and contested as a candidate of the faction led by Jayalalithaa in 1989.
The 35-year old Rajesh, general secretary of the Youth Congress, said his victory was bright as the two Assembly segments—Tiruttani and Sholingur—had a huge presence of traditional Congress voters.
Besides these new scions, Mohan Kumaramangalam, son of late Rangarajan Kumaramangalam (from Salem), Arul Anbarasu (Sriperumbudur), son of former MP Era Anbarasu former MP, Vijay Ilanchezhian (Vellore), son of former MP K. Jayamohan former MP, are also in the electoral fray.
In the DMK, though many leaders sought tickets for their wards, only N. Periyasami, the district secretary of Tuticorin, could secure a seat for his son, N. Jagan. He will be contesting from Tuticorin constituency. But similar wishes of former DMK Ministers Duraimurugan and Suba Thangavelan could not be fulfilled as the party had to accommodate others.
Perhaps the only exception in the DMK is Tamizhachi Thangapandian, daughter of late Thangapandian and sister of former State Minister Thangam Thennarasu. She was offered a Lok Sabha seat, but Ms. Tamizachi, an erudite speaker, declined it.
In the AIADMK also, Dr. Jayavardhan, son of former Assembly Speaker, D. Jayakumar, has been given the South Chennai Lok Sabha constituency.
Even the Left parties are not entirely free of this trend either. In the CPI(M), U. Vasuki, the North Chennai candidate, is the daughter of the senior CPI(M) leader R. Umanath, though she had risen from the ranks after she quit a cushy bank job to become a party full-timer.