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AIADMK released the candidates’ list for the 18 Assembly seats

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Ruling party banks on western and northern T.N., to contest only 3 seats in the south.

The AIADMK on Sunday re-nominated Deputy Speaker M. Thambi Durai (Karur), Dr. Venugopal (Tiruvallur), J. Jayavardhan (Chennai South), Maragatham Kumaravel (Kancheepuram), Senjee V. Elumalai (Arni) and C. Mahendran (Pollachi), among others, for the Lok Sabha election.

It also released the candidates’ list for the 18 Assembly seats where bypolls are due.

The party also gave tickets to former Ministers K.P. Munusamy (Krishnagiri), Agri Krishnamurthy (Tiruvannamalai), M.S.M. Anandan (Tiruppur), Sivapathy (Perambalur) and former MP Manoj Pandian, besides Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam’s son P. Ravindrananth Kumar (Theni).

In western T.N., its traditional stronghold, the ruling party will contest seven of the 9 seats — Krishnagiri, Salem, Namakkal, Erode, Tiruppur, Pollachi and The Nilgiris, leaving Dharmapuri to the PMK and Coimbatore to the BJP. It hopes to cash in on its own vote share, besides the support enjoyed by the BJP and the PMK in some seats here.

In striking contrast, the AIADMK, which won 9 of the 10 seats in south T.N. in 2014, has now chosen to contest only in Madurai, Tirunelveli and Theni. It has allotted Dindigul to the PMK, which has little support there, resulting in local leaders strongly criticising the leadership. Kanniyakumari (held by Union Minister Pon. Radhakrishnan), Sivaganga, Thoothukudi and Ramanathapuram have been given to the BJP, while the DMDK will contest in Virudhunagar. In the south, the AIADMK will face the DMK only in Tirunelveli.

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Toeing Jaya’s line

In north T.N., the AIADMK will contest in Tiruvallur, Chennai South, Kancheepuram, Arni, Tiruvannamalai and Chidambaram, where the PMK is also strong.

The DMDK too has a following in Cuddalore and parts of Villupuram. In Vellore, the NJP will contest on the ‘Two Leaves’ symbol.

The selection of constituencies appears to be broadly along the lines of the policy adopted by former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa 10 years ago. Back then, the AIADMK contested 23 constituencies, winning 9. Sixteen of those seats figure in Sunday’s list.

In central districts, where the DMK is said to be stronger than the AIADMK, the latter will contest in Karur, Perambalur, Nagapattinam and Mayiladuthurai. Of these, Karur — which has elected Deputy Speaker M. Thambi Durai four times — and Mayiladuthurai were won by the party even in 2009.

Tiruchi, which the AIADMK won in 2009 and 2014, has been given to the DMDK.

The other AIADMK candidates are: K.R.S Saravanan (Salem), P. Kaliappan (Namakkal), Vengu alias G. Manimaran (Erode), former MP M. Tyagarajan (Nilgiris), P. Chandrasekhar (Chidambaram), former MLA S. Asaimani (Mayiladuthurai), Thalai M. Saravanan (Nagapattinam) and MLA Rajan Chellappa’s son V.V.R. Raja Sathyan (Madurai).

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