Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) president MK Stalin released on Friday a list of 173 party candidates for the April 6 assembly elections, announcing that he will contest the Kolathur seat while his son, Udhayanidhi, will make his poll debut from the Chepauk constituency.
“In all, 187 candidates will contest on the DMK symbol. Our cadre should assume it’s the DMK that is contesting all 234 constituencies (total assembly seats in the state) and that Thalaivar Kalaignar (moniker for M Karunanidhi) is contesting in this election…,” said Stalin, who took over the reins of the party after the death of his father and former chief minister, Karunanidhi, in August 2018.
Stalin set aside six seats from the Vaiko-led Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK), which will contest on the DMK’s symbol of the rising sun. Eight others from smaller parties, too, will contest on the DMK symbol.
DMK ally Congress will contest 25 seats. The Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India and Thol Thirumavalavan’s Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) got six seats each. The Indian Union Muslim League and the Kongunadu Munnetra Kazhagam will fight three each, while the Manithaneya Makkal Katchi (MMK) got two. The TMK, the Forward Bloc, the ATP and the MVK will fight one seat each.
Among the star candidates, KN Nehru will contest Trichy West and Senthil Balaji (a former AIADMK minister) Karur, where he will take on transport minister MR Vijayabaskar. The party has retained TR Baalu’s son, TRB Raaja, in the Mannargudi seat. Thanga Tamil Selvan (a former AIADMK MLA), who took on deputy chief minister O Paneerselvam’s son from Theni in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, is now pitted against Panneerselvam himself in Bodinayakanur.
The DMK has been out of power for 10 years and considers the 2021 assembly elections a must-win contest.