Ending days of speculation over the candidate who will contest from former Chief Minister and party President M Karunanidhi’s Legislative Assembly constituency, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) on Friday, 4 January, announced its district secretary Poondi Kalaivanan as the party’s candidate for the upcoming Thiruvarur bye-elections in Tamil Nadu.
In a statement on Friday, DMK President and Leader of the Opposition in the state MK Stalin, said that Poondi Kalaivanan enjoyed the support of the party as well as allied parties.
Soon after the Election Commission made the announcement on 31 December, DMK Principal Secretary TR Baalu and the party’s Legislative Assembly whip R Chakrapani had met MK Stalin, requesting him to contest.
Work Hard, Dhinakaran Tells Party Worker
However, Stalin is currently the DMK’s MLA from Kolathur constituency. Facing bye-polls for the first time as party chief, Stalin, however, refused to be the party’s candidate. With the seat holding emotional and symbolic significance due to Karunanidhi previously occupying it, a few party cadre had even submitted a petition to the DMK headquarters for Stalin’s son, Udhayanidhi Stalin to contest.
TTV Dhinakaran’s Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) also announced its candidate on Friday, naming S Kamaraj as its candidate from Thiruvarur.
Speaking at the announcement event, MLA TTV Dhinakaran urged party cadre to work hard to exceed the victory margin with which he had won at RK Nagar.
The ruling AIADMK is expected to make an announcement on Saturday.
The polls will be a prestige battle for the DMK. With MK Stalin asserting himself as a national leader ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the party will be up against TTV Dhinakaran’s AMMK. Contesting independently in former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s seat in RK Nagar, TTV Dhinakaran’s victory spelled an embarrassing defeat for the DMK which lost its deposit despite the anti-incumbency factor.
Part of the state’s agricultural delta belt, Thiruvarur has long been a DMK bastion. The late DMK President has been elected twice from this constituency while the party itself has won at Thiruvarur on four occasions. However, the Communist Party of India(Marxist) too has been elected from the constituency multiple times.
Polling in Thiruvarur would take place on 28 January. Candidates would have to file their nominations by 10 January. Counting of votes would take place on 31 January.
(Published in an arrangement with The News Minute.)
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