Pitching to contest the highest number of Lok Sabha seats ever, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam on Monday re-nominated two of its controversial former Union Ministers, A. Raja and Dayanidhi Maran, for the coming election, while dropping its Madurai strongman and former Union Minister, M.K. Alagiri.
Despite the “image dent” faced by Mr. Raja in the “2G spectrum scam” and Mr. Maran in the “Aircel-Maxis deal,” the DMK has boldly fielded them again. They will re-contest the Nilgiris (Reserved) and Central Chennai seats, respectively.
The list sparked controversial remarks by Mr. Alagiri. “Going by the announced names, the DMK may be pushed to the third spot,” he told The Hindu . “The party has given ticket to those who are crorepatis. Those who have real contacts with the cadres in their respective constituencies have been ignored.”
Asked if he had plans to start a new party, he replied: “I have no plans to start a new party and if at all there is any such move, it would be made only after consulting my supporters.” As long as his grievances were not redressed, he had no intention of going back to the party.
Amid hectic political developments, the DMK’s list, released by its leader, M. Karunanidhi, for 35 constituencies, including the lone seat in Puducherry, retained several of its loyalists such as the former Union Minister, T.R. Baalu, but axed several of its sitting MPs.
Only eight of the party’s 18 MPs in the outgoing Lok Sabha have been chosen to run for the polls again.
While the non-consideration of Mr. Alagiri, recently suspended from the DMK for anti-party activities stemming from sibling rivalry with M.K. Stalin, was expected — in fact, Alagiri did not apply for ticket — one surprise omission has been that of S.S. Palanimanickam, former Union Minister of State for Finance, who is close to Mr. Stalin.
Another former Union Minister, D. Napoleon, an Alagiri loyalist who represented Perambalur, also did not figure on the list. There are 27 new faces, including two women.
“I will not say that the list is complete. There may be some changes and the same will be incorporated on the list if required,” Mr. Karunanidhi told the media at Anna Arivalayam, party headquarters, after releasing the list.
Mr. Baalu shifting turf from Sriperumbudur to Thanjavur, a stronghold of Mr. Palanimanickam from where he won five times, triggered protests by his supporters there.
CPI not to join DMK front
Meanwhile, expectations that the Communist Party of India will clinch a seat-sharing pact with the DMK, after the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam broke ties with the Left parties, turned a non-starter. Senior CPI leaders, discussing the issue here, decided to abide by the Communist Party of India (Marxist)’s decision to fight together on a Left platform to defeat the communal forces. Mr. Karunanidhi parried a query on whether the Congress could rejoin the DMK-led front.
(With inputs from Sruthisagar Yamunan in Chennai and L. Srikrishna in Madurai)