BJP to contest 183 seats in TN with allies
Chennai, Apr 4 (UNI) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has decided to contest 183 seats in Tamil Nadu for the May 8 Assembly polls and has fielded party senior leader and former Minister H V Hande to take on DMK Treasurer Arcot N Veerasamy in Anna Nagar.
Releasing the first list of candidates for 139 seats, the BJP said it had set apart 51 seats for its allies, which included the Janata Party led by Dr Subramaniam Swamy, the JD (U) and other parties.
Three of its five sitting members - H Raja, Jaga Veerapandian and K V Muralidharan, state General Secretary G Kumaravelu, state Vice- President V Vaithialingam, state Treasurer Balaji Sivaraj and former MLA N Velayutham were among others who figured in the first list.
Dr Hande, who had lost to DMK President M Karuannidhi in the 1980 elections by a slender margin of 699 votes in Anna Nagar is pitted against Mr Veerasamy now. Dr Hande had served as Health Minister in the late M G Ramachandran Cabinet.
Mr Raja, elected from Karaikudi in Sivaganga district in the last poll, has moved to the city to take on AIADMK Minister P Valarmathi in Alandur. Two other MLAs, Jaga Veerapandian and Muralidharan are seeking reelection from Mayiladuthurai and Thali respectively.
Mr Velayuthan, who won from Padmanabapuram in the 1996 elections, but lost in the last elections, is testing his fortunes again.
Mr Kumaravelu has been fielded in Park Town, Mr Vaithialingam in Harbour against DMK General Secretary K Anbazhagan, Mr Sivaraman from Tambaram, State treasurer Sivaraj from Tiruchirapalli-II and Ms Jayalakshmi would contest from Royapuram.
Mr Sivalingam is pitted against DMK Deputy General Secretary M K Stalin in Thousand Lights. Two other sitting members K N Lakshmanan (Mylapore) and A Arasan (Arantangi) were not renominated.
Party sources said the party has allotted Mylapore to Janata Party and its leader Chandralekha is likely to contest from Mylapore, where actors S V Sekar and Napoleon were locking horns.
The BJP has fielded 20 scheduled caste and three scheduled tribe candidates in the reserved constituencies. The party has also nominated seven women, including one each from scheduled caste, scheduled tribe and muslim community to contest the elections. The women candidates are: Parvathi Natarajan (Thiruverumbur) K Devi (Kandamangalam), K Jayalakshmi (Royapuram), K Kalaiselvi (Arni) S Munavari Begam (Krishnagiri), P Sellammal (Yercaud) and Thillaikarasi (Edapadi).
The BJP had contested the 2001 assembly elections in the company of DMK and won four seats. After former Union Minister S Thirunavukarasar merged his MGR ADMK with the BJP, the party's tally rose to six, but Mr Austin, one of the two MLA from MGR ADMK quit BJP and joined the AIADMK.
However, in the May 2004 Lok Sabha elections, the party had tied-up with the AIADMK, but the alliance failed to win a single seat.
After the dismal performance, the BJP walked out of the AIADMK-led front and had announced its decision to go it alone in the assembly elections.