CHENNAI: Though two days are left for the notification of the bypoll in RK Nagar, mainstream political parties and formations seem to be in no hurry to name their respective candidates.
In the past, late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa was among the first in announcing her nominee. The current leadership confusion in the AIADMK triggered by her demise has forced both factions to weigh all options before taking the final call.
Despite buzz on AIADMK deputy general secretary T T V Dinakaran intending to test his electoral fortunes in RK Nagar, the party said the candidate would be selected on March 15 at a meeting of the newly-constituted Parliamentary Board.
The rebel faction led by dethroned chief minister O Panneerselvam too is keeping its cards close to its chest.
Hoping to ride on the public sentiment, the OPS faction is weighing options of fielding a veteran leader like E Madhusudanan, currently the presidium chairman.
The North Madras district secretary of Jayalalithaa Peravai Rajesh is also a strong contender if Madhusudanan’s age comes into play, party sources said.
“We will choose the candidate in three-four days,” said ‘Ma Foi’ K Pandiarajan, former minister for school education.
The O Paneerselvam faction is learnt to have sent feelers to Deepa Jayakumar, niece of Jayalalithaa, to field a mutually acceptable candidate as well.
But Deepa has already announced that she will face the ballot in RK Nagar, from where her aunt was elected to the Assembly twice.
The DMK too is taking its own time despite completing the process of interviewing aspiring contestants on Monday.
“We have completed the process of interviewing the aspirants. Will finalise the candidate tonight or tomorrow in consultation with our party chief (M Karunanidhi),” Stalin told reporters after the interviews.
A panel of leaders, including general secretary K Anbazhagan and working president
MK Stalin, had a session with the 17 aspirants; among them, Shimla Muthuchozhan, who had unsuccessfully contested against Jayalalithaa in 2106 polls, seems to be the front runner.
Yet, the party’s strategy would change depending upon the candidate the Sasikala faction prefers to field.
The three-party Pepole’s Welfare Alliance (PWA) too could not arrive at a consensus on whether to field a candidate or stay away, as it had done during the deferred elections to Aravakurichi and Thanjavur constituencies.
Top leaders of Pepole’s Welfare Alliance, including G Ramakrishnan (CPM), R Mutharasan (CPI) and Thol Thirumavalavan (VCK), discussed the issue at length on Monday.
Stalin’s appeal to parties to support his candidate in order to forge unity among opposition parties to take on the Sasikala faction appears to have put them in a fix, with VCK pitching for a pro-DMK stand and CPM being averse to the idea.
OPS too sought the support of PWA.
However, a VCK leader said no decision that may jeopardise the alliance is advisable at this juncture, indicating the party’s intent to stay with the PWA.
Parties like Vaiko’s MDMK and the Bharatiya Janata Party too did not take a call regarding contesting the polls.
Under these circumstances, a clear picture would emerge only after a couple of days.