Tamil Nadu will see a heated face off between two powerful women leaders from the state in the Thoothukudi parliamentary constituency: BJP State President Tamilisai Soundararajan versus DMK’s Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi Karunanidhi. Tamilisai’s candidature in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls was confirmed at a press conference on Thursday by Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare JP Nadda. Nadda, who is also the Secretary of the national party’s Parliamentary Board also announced the party’s Lok Sabha candidates from the state. The BJP is contesting in five seats in the state as part of the AIADMK-led alliance.
A gynaecologist by training, Tamilisai's candidature in Thoothukudi from the national party will be closely watched since the district witnessed the shooting of 14 unarmed civilians in May last year during the agitation against pollution caused by Vedanta’s Sterlite copper smelter. This will be the leader's second parliamentary bid. Her candidature for the BJP from the Chennai North constituency in 2009 had been unsuccessful.
As TNM had reported earlier, BJP National Secretary H Raja will, once again, contest from the Sivaganga parliamentary seat. Raja, who has been at the centre of several controversies in the state in recent years, is expected to battle Congress’ businessman-politician Karti Chidambaram in Sivaganga. Both Raja and Karti Chidambaram had lost to the AIADMK in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
Union Minister of State for Finance and Shipping Pon Radhakrishnan, who is also the current Member of Parliament from Kanyakumari, will be seeking re-election from his constituency. Pon Radhakrishnan is the only BJP lawmaker from the state which gave the central ruling party a vote share of 2.8 percent in 2014.
Senior BJP leader and former State President of the BJP in Tamil Nadu CP Radhakrishnan is the party's candidate from the crucial Coimbatore parliamentary constituency. The BJP, which is hoping to make its mark in the state’s Kongu belt, had fielded the former MP in 2014 too. However, Radhakrishnan lost to the AIADMK’s P Nagarajan.
BJP leader Nainar Nagendran, who was formerly an AIADMK man, will be contesting from Ramanathapuram. Nagendran, a former AIADMK MLA from Tirunelveli had left the party in 2017, following the infighting in the aftermath of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa's death. He joined the BJP and was rewarded with a Vice President post in the party at the state level.
With the AIADMK-BJP alliance’s seat-sharing arrangement announced on Saturday, there had been a delay in the national party announcing its candidates. On Wednesday, H Raja had caused a flutter with his statement in Karaikudi announcing the party’s Lok Sabha candidates. However, BJP state chief Tamilisai Soundararajan said on Thursday that the delay was on account of the BJP Parliamentary Board finalising the list of names submitted from the state along with names from other states.