CHENNAI: It may not yet be known how many seats the DMK will contest in the 2021 polls, let alone who it will field, but there is one thing cadres are sure of: party president MK Stalin’s son Udhayanidhi will contest from the Chepauk-Thiruvallikeni seat in Chennai. His grandfather, the late DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi won from the constituency in 1996, 2001 and 2006.
The decision to field the youth wing chief from the constituency became clear on Tuesday evening when Udhayanidhi addressed a booth agents meeting.
A DMK functionary, who attended the meeting, said he did not make an open statement on his decision but the oblique references made in speeches by most functionaries made matters clear.
"It was clear from the speeches that this would be a ‘star’ constituency and that Tamil Nadu would gain much benefit from it,” he said.
“Their remark cleared the doubts of ground-level cadres. Later, our district functionaries and second-rung leaders personally confirmed that Udhayanidhi is going to contest from the constituency and that is why he attended the meeting," the functionary said.
The Chepauk-Thiruvallikeni seat is considered a safe one as the party has lost there only once -- in 1991 when the AIADMK-led alliance sailed to power on the sympathy wave that followed the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
Of the three times he was elected from there, Karunanidhi became Chief Minister twice. As a result, the seat is also considered lucky for the first family.
Once the matter was made clear to cadres, all ward-level functionaries and booth agents are working to ensure a landslide victory for Udhayanidhi, “just as how our departed leader (Karunanidhi) won by a margin of more than one lakh votes in the Tiruvarur assembly constituency in 2016,” the functionary said. (Karunanidhi actually won by 68,366 votes, the highest victory margin in his career).