Tamil Nadu is two weeks away from the crucial assembly poll, the first legislative election since the demise of political giants Karunanidhi and Jayalalithaa, which also makes the first legislative election for Edappadi Palaniswami as the Chief Minister and for MK Stalin as the DMK President. This factor implies the significance of the upcoming polls and how hard the race is between the rivals to emerge victorious and as a replacement for the departed leaders.
In what can be described as a race at its best, the ruling ADMK and the opposition DMK have been leveling series of allegations against each other in their bid to make the voters hate their rivals. On the other side, the absence of political giants had birthed newbies in the political race including actor turned politician Kamal Haasan and VK Sasikala's nephew TTV Dhinakaran. Though the upcoming polls would witness five fronts, there are some candidates in both the Dravidian parties who are contesting in the elections with the question that whether they won't get bored in entering the assembly for successive times.
These candidates have seen generations of politics and the rise and fall of the leaders, and seemingly know each corner and every color in the assembly as they have contested in the polls then and will be contesting now and in the future. Let's take a look at some of the candidates in Tamil Nadu who are consistently contesting in the polls for the last four years - precisely from 1977.
If there is one leader who is contesting from 1971 to 2021 is DMK's General Secretary Duraimurugan. Duraimurugan is a protege of CN Annadurai and Karunanidhi. He contested in the 1971 poll, the first election since the demise of Annadurai, and he is going to contest in the 2021 poll, the first election since the demise of Karunanidhi. Duraimurugan had contested in all the polls from 1971 to 2021 and in the upcoming poll, he will be contesting in the Katpadi constituency.
Duraimurugan has contested in eleven legislative elections and he only faced defeat in two elections. He had won from the Katpadi and Ranipet constituencies and he is all set to go for the race for the twelfth time from Katpadi. While Duraimurugan represented DMK in the assembly for the past five decades and the oldest member of the current assembly, the leaders like KA Sengottaiyan (ADMK), House Speaker Dhanapal (ADMK), Erode Muthusamy (then ADMK), and KKSSR Ramachandran (then ADMK) have been contesting in the polls since 1977, the year when the ADMK came to the polls for the first time.
Sengottaiyan has been a veteran ADMK leader who had held close ties with its founder MG Ramachandran and departed leader Jayalalithaa. Sengottaiyan has a stronghold in Erode district and he has been serving as the current School Education Minister. When Jayalalithaa had demised, Sengottaiyan was one of the leaders on the card to become the next Chief Minister. However, Edappadi Palaniswami had become the Chief Minister.
Sengottaiyan has been contesting in the polls since 1977 and apart from the 2001 elections, he had contested the remaining elections from the Sathyamangalam and Gobichettipalayam constituencies. He was defeated in the 1996 polls and apart from this election, he had tasted victory in the rest of the elections. Following Sengottaiyan, current House Speaker Dhanapal has been contesting in the elections from 1977. In the elections that were held in 1977 and 1984, Dhanapal had contested from the Sankari constituency and he contested in the 2001 polls and won from the same constituency.
He again got a ticket to contest in the 2011 polls and he contested and won from Rasipuram and entered the assembly as the speaker. In 2016, he contested in the Avinashi constituency and won the polls and he has been continuing as Speaker. In the upcoming polls, he will again be contesting from Avinashi. On the other hand, KKSSR Ramachandran is one of the powerful politicians in the state and a significant face of Southern Tamil Nadu.
Ramachandran gained a reputation by serving in the cabinets of both MGR and Karunanidhi. Though he began politics by joining ADMK, he then switched side and joined DMK and emerged as a leader who has always been close to the party's high command. Ramachandran had contested in ten assembly polls in which he was defeated only twice. Of these ten times, he had elected to the assembly six times from the Sattur constituency, and for the upcoming poll, which is his eleventh assembly election, he will be contesting from the Aruppukottai constituency.
Tamil Nadu will be going to the single-phase poll on April 6 and the votes will be counted on May 2, during which the results on who is the next Chief Minister will be announced. In an unprecedented fashion, Tamil Nadu is witnessing the race between five fronts - ADMK and its alliance, DMK and its alliance, Kamal Haasan- Sarathkumar - IJK, Dhinakaran's AMMK - Vijayakanth's DMDK, and Seeman's Naam Tamilar Katchi, which will be contesting in the polls independently.