The Tamil Nadu ruling ADMK party has on Friday unveiled the first set of candidates for the upcoming assembly polls and the development has come when the state is week ahead of the commencement of filing the nomination papers to contest in the polls. The party has released the list of candidates a day after conducting brief interviews with the candidates who had moved their applications to seek the party's ticket to contest in the polls.
The first set of candidates includes six names from top leaders to legislators of the party. In what has become the first announcement of candidates from a major party, ADMK has revealed who had won the tickets and where they will be contesting. The list includes the candidature of Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami, Deputy Chief Minister Panneerselvam, senior ministers CV Shanmugam, Jayakumar, and legislators SP Shanmuganathan and Thenmozhi.
According to the party's release, Edappadi Palaniswami will be contesting from his hometown of the Edappadi constituency in Salem, which he has been representing since 2011 and Panneerselvam has been awarded the ticket to contest from his stronghold Bodinayakanur constituency in Theni district. Panneerselvam has been serving as a legislator for this constituency for the past ten years.
The party's statement has said that Tamil Nadu Law Minister CV Shanmugam will be contesting from the Villupuram constituency while Tamil Nadu Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar will be contesting from Royapuram, Chennai which he is representing for the past five years. Apart from the senior leaders, the party had also awarded tickets for legislators Shanmuganathan and Thenmozhi to contest from Srivaikundam and Nilakottai constituencies respectively.
Nilakottai is a reserved constituency for Scheduled Caste (SC) communities. As the senior leaders in the first list of candidates will be contesting from the same constituency as 2016, it has been expected that the other leaders and ministers would go in the same way of retaining their own constituencies. On the other hand, the ADMK supporters were shocked to see the absence of names of ministers Thangamani and SP Velumani in the first list of candidates.
The ADMK had received a pile of applications from the aspirants to contest in the polls. The party had begun accepting poll applications from the aspirations on February 24, during the 73rd birth anniversary of late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and ADMK patriarch J Jayalalithaa. The party had closed the counter after ten days on March 4 and it had received 8,200 applications from the aspirants across the state and on Thursday, the ADMK leaders conducted the interview with the aspirants.
It was expected that the first set of candidates will be released on Friday and as expected, the party has now unveiled the first list of candidates. In 2016, current Chief Minister Palanswami had contested from Edappadi constituency under the leadership of Jayalalithaa and he won the constituency by defeating PMK's Annadurai in the margin of 42,000 votes while Panneerselvam won Bodinayakanur in the margin of 15, 608 by defeating Lakshmanan of DMK.
Tamil Nadu Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar had won the 2016 election from Royapuram constituency in Chennai in the margin of 8,000 votes by defeating Manohar of the Congress party whereas CV Shanmugam had won the 2016 polls from Villupuram constituency in the margin of 22,200 votes while SP Shanmuganathan had won the 2016 polls in the margin of 3,531 votes. While Thangathurai won the 2016 polls from the Nilakottai constituency, he was later disqualified from the assembly by Speaker Dhanapal for withdrawing support to Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami.
Thangathurai had won the previous election in a margin of 14,776 votes and following his disqualification, ADMK fielded Thenmozhi in the by-election that was held in 2019. Thenmozhi won the by-election in a margin of 20,000 votes by defeating DMK's Soundarapandian. The ADMK party has again fielded Thenmozhi in the same constituency of Nilakottai for the upcoming polls. The ADMK party had unveiled the first list of candidates when the state is one month ahead of the crucial polls. Tamil Nadu will be going into polls on April 6 and the votes will be counted on May 2, during which the winner will be announced.