The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam has fielded youth secretary and son of party chief MK Stalin, Udhayanidhi in the Chepauk- Thiruvallikeni constituency in Chennai. The constituency, considered to be a DMK bastion, has seen M Karunanidhi win from there in three assembly elections, two times of which he went on to become the Chief Minister.
It was already largely speculated that Udhayanidhi would be given the constituency which has just over two lakh residents, many known to be fierce DMK loyalists. The constituency is the smallest in the state and Udhayanidhi had given in an application with other candidates or the post. During his interview, he was reportedly asked if he could campaign in all other constituencies for the party and manage to garner votes if Chepauk was allotted to him.
Reports suggested that Stalin himself was against the idea of Udhayanidhi contesting because it would prove critics, who accused him of promoting his own son within the party, true.
"There was a lot of debate underway regarding giving Udhayanidhi the seat. MK Stalin was not keen about and even Udhayanidhi was in two minds. He knew he had to campaign across the state as well," says a source in the DMK. "But senior leaders were insistent that he must stand. They believe that it will bolster the chances of the DMK and MK Stalin as well," he adds.
At a book launch event in Chennai, describing his interview with senior leaders, Udhayanidhi had said that his father had not responded much even as he replied to questions asked by panelists Duraimurugan, TR Baalu and A Raja.
Udhayanidhi has been campaigning across the state for the DMK since December to canvass votes for the party ahead of the assembly polls.