The DMK on Saturday announced its candidates for the four Tamil Nadu Assembly by-elections set to be held on May 19.
These are apart from by-elections to 18 seats which are to be held along with Lok Sabha polls from 39 seats in Tamil Nadu on April 18.
Elections to these four seats—Sulur, Tiruparakundram, Aravakuruchi and Ottapidaram ( R )—could not be held along with the other18 constituencies because of pendency of cases . The cases came to an end after the Lok Sabha announcement and the Election Commission therefore decided to hold the by-election in these four constituencies on May 19.
The DMK has fielded two former Ministers Senthil Balaji and Pongalur Palanisamy in Aravakuruthi and Sulur respectively. It has renominated Dr Saravanan in Tiruparakundram and put up M C Shanmughaiah in Ottapidaram. Senthil Balaji, who was a Minister in the Jayalalitha Cabinet, defected to the camp of rebel AIADMK leader and present Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam chief T T V Dinakaran . He was among the 18 disqualified by the Assembly Speaker. He joined the DMK a few months ago.
Aravakuruthi election was earlier put off in 2016 because of large-scale seizure of money from premises of Anbunathan, a businessmen close to Senthil Balaji . By fielding him, DMK president M K Stalin has lost the lost moral right to point an accusing finger against Palanisami Government.
Pongalur Palanisami, is a DMK strong man in the Coimbatore district who elected to the Assembly for the first time from Pongalur way back in 1971. Later he won from Coimbatore in 1996. He lost in 2011 and won again in 2006 when he was inducted as Minister in the last Karunanidhi Government. In 2011, after J Jayalalitha returned to power, the Directorate of Vigilance registered a disproportionate assets case against Palanisamy. .
Dr Saravanan lost to his AIADMK rival A K Bose in Tiruparakundram in November 2016. He moved the High Court and got the election of Bose set aside on the ground that his nomination was invalid as his papers bore only the thumb impression of AIADMK general secretary J Jayalalitha obtained when she was battling for life in Apollo .
The court ruled that the Election Commission acted as the hand maiden of the ruling AIADMK by accepting the invalid nomination. Unfortunately, the pendency of the case was cited as a reason for withholding the by-election though Bose himself died in August 2018. The verdict itself became academic it came after Bose’s death.
The DMK has fielded M C Shanmughaiah, a relatively unknown face in Ottapidaram reserved constituency where Puthiya Tamizhagam leader Dr Krishnaswamy has some base among Pallars, a sub-caste of the Dalits.
Dr Krishnaswamy won his first election in 1996 as a Janata Party candidate as he had not formed his own party then. He won in 2011, but lost to the AIADMK in the 2016 when he aligned with the DMK. His petition challenging that election led to delay in holding the by-election there. In the coming by-election he has aligned with the AIDMK.
The AIADMK has won several elections there and the DMK has won only once way back in 1989.