Tamil Nadu has one of the largest numbers of self- financing colleges with engineering institutions alone accounting for over 500 with a number of them being run by persons with political background cutting across party lines.
The trend of politicians entering the lucrative self- financing professional education field started in the 1980s when it was thrown open to the private sector.
Taking the electoral plunge for the first time is founder of Indiya Jananayaka Katchi (IJK), BJP's ally and head of the SRM Group of institutions, T R Pachamuthu from Perambalur constituency.
Pudhiya Needhi Katchi (New Justice Party) President A C Shanmugam, founder of Dr MGR Educational and Research Institute, is returning to poll arena nearly after a gap of three decades. A former MP and MLA, Shanmugam is contesting from Vellore constituency, in alliance with BJP.
In 1980 Assembly election, he emerged winner contesting from Arani constituency and in 1984 from Vellore constituency under the AIADMK ambit.