For the DMK, which drew a blank in the previous Lok Sabha elections, 2019 is a chance to redeem itself. The party has formed a strong alliance to counter a 'remote controlled' AIADMK in the state and has even thrown its weight behind Congress to take on the BJP at the Centre. With the elections now fast approaching, the party is in the process of deciding candidates across the state's 39 constituencies, of which, the DMK will contest up to 25 seats. The rest of the seats, DMK sources tell TNM, will be divided amongst the Tamil Nadu Congress, CPI, CPI(M), VCK and IUML.
Of these 25, TNM has information on who is likely to contest from the DMK in five constituencies. While the party is waiting for the Election Commission to announce dates for the polls before initiating formal alliance talks, internal meetings and unofficial seat sharing discussions have been underway. The DMK has already named a committee headed by party Treasurer Duraimurugan to hold seat-sharing talks with allies and the panel consists of five other leaders including party Organisation Secretary, RS Barathi and Deputy General Secretary I Periasami.
Of the five, multiple sources have confirmed to TNM that K Kanimozhi, Rajya Sabha MP and daughter of the late DMK President, will be contesting from Thoothukudi district. She has over the last month been touring the constituency and holding gram sabha meetings there. Reports suggest that she has been taking note of grievances of villagers and has promised that DMK will intervene to ensure proper drinking facilities, closure of TASMAC shops and other civic amenities if voted to power.
In fact, Geetha Jeevan, the district secretary for North district DMK unit, who was presiding over a grama saba meet at Thomas Nagar in Ilupaiyoorani village on Thursday night announced to the public present there Kanimozhi will be contesting from the location.
"Kanimozhi has been a parliamentarian for the past 10 years. She is fluent in English and well aware of the issues faced by the people. She can bring an abundance of welfare schemes," the MLA said.
Kanimozhi, who was acquitted from the 2G spectrum allocation case in 2017 by a Delhi Court, will be facing direct elections for the first time in her political career.
The current MP from Thoothukudi is Jeyasingh Thiyagaraj Natterjee of the AIADMK, who is also the Deputy Secretary of the party's lawyers' wing.
Another candidate the DMK is likely to field is A Raja, former Union Telecom Minister, from the Nilgiris district. Raja had in 2014 lost to the AIADMK's C Gopalakrishnan in the same constituency. The AIADMK leader swept the poll with a huge margin of 1,04,940 votes which was at least 20,000 votes more than Raja. But the DMK leader had won the same constituency with a vote share of over 44% in 2009. His loss in 2014 was pegged to him being an accused in the 2G allocation case.
With his acquittal by a Delhi Court, the party is hoping in a change of fortune. Raja and several DMK members have already begun discussion with party workers and are camped in the constituency for the campaign.
Another former Union Minister who is likely to receive a seat in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls is S Jagathrakshakan. The DMK leader could contest from Arakkonam, from where he won two Lok Sabha polls in 1999 and 2009. He lost the 2014 election when he contested from Sriperumbudur against AIADMK's KN Ramachandran. However, the former Minister of State for Information and Broadcast has a slew of corruption allegations burdening him.
This includes, illegal land procurement, amassing illegal assets to the tune of Rs 600 crore, involvement in the coal mining scam and getting a distillery license using his own political influence as an MP.
The two other seats that have been discussed are in constituencies in and around Chennai.
DMK Principal Secretary and head of manifesto committee TR Baalu is likely to contest from South Chennai or from Sriperambadur. Baalu, a very important leader in the DMK, was first elected to Parliament as a member of Rajya Sabha in 1986. He was elected Lok Sabha in 1996 from Chennai South constituency and became Minister of State in the Ministry Petroleum and Natural Gas.
Considered a reliable candidate, from 1996 - 2009 he won four election in Chennai South. In 2009 he contested in Sriperambudur and won there too. He faced his first electoral defeat in 2014 against the AIADMK's K Parasurman who won with a large vote percentage.
If he is fielded from South Chennai this time around, he is likely to contest against a candidate from the BJP, which is vying for the seat.
And finally from Chennai Central, the DMK could field Dayanadhi Maran.
Dayanadhi, who is the son of former Union Minister Murasoli Maran and the grandnephew of M Karunanidhi has won from the Chennai Central constituency twice, in 2004 and 2009. He was made Union Minister for Communications and Information Technology in 2004.
He lost from the same constituency in 2014, to AIADMK's SR Vijaykumar.
He is, however, currently embroiled in the illegal telephone exchange case with his brother and founder of Sun TV Network Kalanithi Maran. The case dates back to when Dayanidhi was Telecom Minister in the UPA-I government between 2004 and 2007. The CBI alleges that Dayanidhi misused his office, installing a private telephone exchange at his residences in Chennai for the illegal uplink of Sun TV data. The CBI said that alleged illegal telephone exchange cost the government a loss of Rs 1.78 crore.
Recently, a Special CBI Court in Chennai framed charges against the duo and five others.