Chennai: When M Karunanidhi and J Jayalalithaa were alive, they were accused of promoting family members – Karunanidhi was charged with grooming his own kin and Jayalalithaa with nurturing relatives of her close aide V K Sasikala.
After their demise, many things changed in their parties, the DMK and AIADMK. But, the one thing that has remained constant is opportunities to wards of leaders.
A look at the candidates lists of both parties, released Sunday, shows the importance given to sons and daughters of top guns.
The DMK leads the pack in encouraging family interests, as at least six of its 20 contestants for the parliamentary elections are kin of its stalwarts. And, all three constituencies in Chennai have been given to these powerful progeny.
While Kalanidhi Veerasami, the Chennai North candidate, is a dermatologist by profession and son of former Minister Arcot N Veerasami, Dayanidhi Maran, the Chennai Central contestant, is, no prizes for guessing, son of former Union minister Murasoli Maran.
Tamizhachi Thangapandian, a former English professor and poet, is the Chennai South candidate. She is the daughter of former DMK minister Thangapandian.
The DMK has fielded Kanimozhi (Karunanidhi’s daughter) in Thoothukudi, Gautham Sigamani (Ponmudi’s son) in Kallakurichi and Kathir Anand (Durai Murugan’s son) in Vellore.
The ruling AIADMK is not far behind. The party’s coordinator and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam’s son P Ravindra Nath Kumar is its Theni candidate.
AIADMK’s Madurai contestant V V V R Rajasathyan is son of former mayor V V Rajan Chellappa, Chennai South candidate Jayavardhan is Minister D Jayakumar’s son and Tirunelveli candidate P H Manoj Pandian is son of former Speaker P H Pandian.
“The culture, or ethics, of keeping family members away from politics ended with the times of MGR. After 1990s, Dravidian leaders started promoting their kin in a big way and no party is an exception to this. Parties are being run like family business where sons and daughters inherit the fortunes of their fathers,” says Ravi S, professor in a city college.
Amid reports that party cadres are upset with wards of leaders snatching away their opportunities, DMK president M K Stalin dismisses this as the ‘view of the media’. “We have selected well-qualified and deserving candidates who could win the election,” he told journalists Sunday.
And, according to Panneerselvam, “We have picked deserving candidates. Everyone in our list has a history of working for the party. This is Amma’s party and there is no place for family politics.”
|Anbumani S/O Ramadoss & David S/O Kalimuthu|
|While the PMK has named former Union minister Anbumani Ramadoss, son of its founder S Ramadoss, as its Dharmapuri candidate, T T V Dhinakaran’s AMMK has nominated David Annadurai, son of former Speaker Kalimuthu, as its Madurai contestant.|