BJP national secretary Tamilisai Soundararajan has been chosen as the party’s candidate for the Vellore constituency, pending the approval of the party high command, according to sources. The party has had to scramble to find candidates for the Vellore and Thanjavur seats, which had been allotted to it at the last minute, to arrive at a seat-sharing matrix acceptable to all the allies. The party ticket for Thanjavur, however, is not so much an open-and-shut case, with senior leaders disagreeing with each other on who the candidate should be.
According to sources in the party, State president Pon Radhakrishnan and secretary Vanathi Srinivasan are lining their chips behind Karuppu Muruganandham of Tiruvarur. But this has not gone down well with some sections of the party, thanks to the perception that Karuppu has a number of cases pending against him.
That, according to party sources, is why former State president and national executive member L Ganesan is suggesting the name of M S Ramalingam instead. Ramalingam is a native of Thanjavur and has been in the party organisation for close to three decades.
The deadlock over the Thanjavur seat is why the BJP continues to be unable to announce Tamilisai’s candidature for Vellore, as it wants to do it along with the choice for the Thanjavur seat. Senior functionaries of the election committee of the State unit are set to meet on Monday to discuss the issue, and forward the names of the candidates to the party’s Parliamentary Board in Delhi. The formal announcement of the candidates of the two constituencies is likely to be made on Wednesday.
The candidature of Tamilisai has not been so controversial. The 52-year-old gynaecologist had set her eyes on the Sriperumbudur constituency, which her party had to cede to the MDMK during the seat-sharing talks.
Tamilisai, daughter of former State Congress president Kumari Ananthan, had unsuccessfully contested in North Chennai in 2009. She has also made unsuccessful electoral bids from the Velachery constituency in the 2011 Assembly elections and from Radhapuram in the 2006 Assembly polls.