CHENNAI: Youth power in the Tamil Nadu Congress has come to the fore with a significant number of youth nominees finding a place in the party’s candidates list for the Lok Sabha polls announced on Thursday night.
Thanks to Congress going it alone in the State, creating room for more candidates, the contestants reflect a mixed profile of the young and the old in the first list of 30 aspirants for the parliament elections from the State.
The generational shift was most pronounced in Sivaganga, where Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram gave way for his son, Karti P. Chidambaram. The senior Chidambaram had won the seat seven times, including in the 2009 polls. “I am deeply honoured by the chance given by the Congress high command; our unit in Sivaganga is ready to face any challenge,” an excited Karti told ‘The Hindu’ late Thursday night.
In Arani, former TNCC president M. Krishnaswamy passed the baton to his son Vishnu Prasad, who had earlier been an MLA.
Significantly, the hand of Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi was clearly visible in the selections of candidates with several direct youth nominations.
Sources said Mohan Kumaramangalam for Salem, Naasey Rajesh for Arakkonam and J. Vijay Ilanchezhian for Vellore were all handpicked by the central leadership.
In the case of Mr. Mohan, his candidature marks the return of the illustrious Kumaramangalam family into the electoral fray as a Congress candidate. His father, the bubbly Rangarajan Kumaramangalam, a former Union Minister, had out of frustration shifted to the BJP from the Congress in 1998.
Several leaders, who did not belong to any major factions also found place on the list, pointing to the high command’s attempt to democratize the selection process. They include C.D. Meiyappan for Central Chennai and Krishnaswamy Vandayaar for Thanjavur.
Among the heavyweights in the Congress list, Mani Shankar Aiyar returns to contesting from Mayiladuthurai, E.V.K.S Elagovan from Tirupur constituency, Su.Thirunavukkarasar from Ramanathapuram and A.P.C.V Shanmugam from Tuticorin.
The first list figured only one woman candidate, Charubala Thondaman, who will re-contest from Tiruchi, the city which she served as Mayor.
The party has re-nominated six sitting MPs from their respective constituencies including K.S. Alagiri (Cuddalore), J.M. Aaroon Rashid (Theni), P. Viswanathan (Kanchipuram-Reserved), N.S.V. Chitthan (Dindigul), S.S. Ramasubbu (Tirunelveli) and Manicka Tagore (Virudhunagar).
All factions in the Tamil Nadu Congress have been represented with Union Minister G.K. Vasan’s supporters taking away a chunk of the seats. Some relatively old faces like P. Vallalperumal (Chidambaram) have also been given a berth this time. EOM.