Former Union Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar and anti-nuclear activist S.P. Udaya Kumar were among 63 persons who filed nomination papers on Saturday, when nominations opened for the April 24 Lok Sabha elections in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.
Contesting for the seventh time from Mayiladuthurai, Mr. Aiyar, a sitting member of the Rajya Sabha, filed his nomination at the Sub Collector’s office at Mayiladuthurai on Saturday, while Mr. Udayakumar, fielded by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), presented his papers to Kanyakumari Election Officer, S.Nagarajan. Mr. Udayakumar’s colleague in the anti-nuclear movement, M. Pushparayan of the AAP filed his papers in Tuticorin.
Apart from two candidates fielded by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) — sitting MP P.R. Natarajan and B. Vikraman — in Coimbatore and Madurai constituencies, most of the remaining contestants were either independents or members of lesser-known parties.
Mr. Aiyar told the media that even after his defeat in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, he had continued to spend funds under the Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme for over 600 panchayats in his constituency, transcending political affiliations. Mr. Vikraman emphasised the need for providing job opportunities for the 18 lakh unemployed persons in the southern districts.
In Madurai, transgender activist Bharathi Kannamma, who was one of the independents who submitted their papers, highlighted the cause of the transgender community. In Tuticorin, P. Murugan, an auto-rickshaw driver, handed over the papers to the official concerned as a nominee of the ‘Save Bahujan Movement’.
In three constituencies of Chennai, nine persons submitted nominations. In South Chennai, ‘Traffic’ K.R. Ramaswamy was one of the independents to present the papers.
In Sriperumpudur, District Revenue Officer and Returning Officer there M.Sambathkumar received four nominations while no one had filed nominations for the Kancheepuram (SC) Lok Sabha constituency.