Former Union Minister K.V. Thangkabalu has decided not to contest the April 24 Lok Sabha election, the second prominent leader after Union Shipping Minister G.K. Vasan to opt out of the poll race.

A statement from the former Tamil Nadu Congress Committee (TNCC) president’s office in Chennai said Mr. Thangkabalu had not filed request with the State unit seeking ticket to contest Salem or any other seat and only three local leaders had nominated him.

The statement recalled that Mr. Thangkabalu had quit as TNCC chief in 2011 owning moral responsibility for the party’s loss in the Assembly election in which Congress could win only five seats out of the 63 it contest in alliance with DMK.

“Mr. Thangkabalu had informed the Congress high command that he would not fight any general election then”, it said.

He had conveyed his decision to senior Congress leaders Gulam Nabi Azad and Mukul Wasnik, who look after Tamil Nadu unit affairs, saying “new faces shall get chance”.

Mr. Thangkabalu, who was humbled in Salem Lok Sabha constituency in 2009, is the second prominent leader after Mr. Vasan to opt out of the race in the backdrop of Congress failing to strike any alliance.

There is also speculation that former minister Jayanti Natarajan is not keen to contest from the Sriperumbudur seat and Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram wants his son Karti to take the poll plunge from his bastion Sivaganga.

More In: Tamil Nadu | National