DMK, in 2021, has fielded several young and new faces as candidates for the upcoming Assembly polls in Tamil Nadu. On the list is Dr Ezhilan Naganathan who will contest from Thousand Lights Assembly constituency in Chennai. He will be up against a BJP candidate. The national party is yet to release its candidates list.
For those who are regulars in watching TV debates in Tamil around social justice, state government’s policies on inclusion and education, Dr Ezhilan is a familiar face. Son of former Deputy Chief of the State Planning Commission M Naganathan, who was instrumental in creating one of DMK’s most influential election manifestos, Ezhilan is a medical doctor practising at Kauvery Hospitals in Chennai. He has over a decade’s experience in the field of infectious diseases, preventive medicine and diabetology.
M Naganathan was said to be extremely close to Karunanidhi and Dr Ezhilan was one of the doctors who had treated the late DMK patriarch when he was admitted to Kauvery Hospitals for treatment. Dr Ezhilan was also one of the few DMK members who spent the maximum time with Karunanidhi in his last days.
In the past few years, Dr Ezhilan has been a leading voice against the implementation of the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) in Tamil Nadu for MBBS admissions. He actively took a stance against NEET and has been reiterating how the entrance exam is against the very basic principles of social justice by denying opportunities to those from the underprivileged section of the society. Dr Ezhilan has also opposed the Salem-Chennai greenfield expressway and is also the founder of Ilaignar Iyakkam. He is also known for supporting the cause of Tamil Eelam.
The DMK’s list of candidates show an interesting mix of veteran politicians like KN Nehru, K Ponmudi, Poongothai Aladi Aruna and Thangam Thennarasu and several youngsters. A total of 187 candidates will contest under the rising sun symbol associated with the DMK, of which 173 belong to the party. The remaining candidates are from allied parties.