Putting an end to the speculation surrounding the candidacy for Sivaganga constituency in Tamil Nadu, the Congress party on Sunday announced that Karti Chidambaram will be their candidate for the parliamentary constituency. He will be pitted against BJP National secretary H Raja.
The announcement was made through a press release dated March 24 signed by the Congress General Secretary Mukul Wasnik. The party had come under criticism for not releasing its list of candidates for Tamil Nadu, which is going to the polls on April 18. The first list of candidates for Tamil Nadu, released after midnight on Saturday, announced eight candidates out of the nine seats allocated to the Congress for the Lok Sabha polls in the DMK alliance. Reports stated that the party senior leaders had not finalised the candidate for Sivaganga constituency, with three probables being mentioned â€“ Karti Chidambaram, senior leader EM Sudarsan Natchiappan and Congress spokesperson Khushbu.
Sudarsan Natchiappan is a former MP from Sivaganga who was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1999. He was a Rajya Sabha MP from Tamil Nadu from 2010 to 2016 and was also a Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry in UPA 2. Kartiâ€™s involvement in various cases including the INX Media case had cast doubts over his selection as a candidate for the general elections. Khushbu joined the Congress in 2014 and is now the national spokesperson for the party.
With the nomination of Karti Chidambaram as the Sivaganga candidate, the fight for the MP seat becomes important since it is the constituency from where Karti Chidambaramâ€™s father and former union minister P Chidambaram was elected seven times to the Lok Sabha.
H Raja, the BJP candidate, was elected as an MLA from Karaikkudi Assembly constituency in 2001 on a BJP ticket. Contesting from Sivaganga in the 1999 general elections, Raja had lost to Sudarsan Natchiappan. In the 2014 general elections, he contested again from the Sivaganga constituency but managed to grab only the third place, after the AIADMK and the DMK.