BJP names 'star' candidates, veterans, to take on DMK-combine

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Chennai, Mar 14 (PTI) The BJP on Sunday announced the names of 'star' candidates and veterans to take on the DMK combine in the assembly election early next month.

The list accommodates new entrant actress-turned politician Khushbu Sundar and the partys state chief L Murugan, who shot to fame through his Vel Yatra.

Partys national president of Mahila Morcha Vanathi Srinivasan and former national secretary H Raja too figure in the first list of candidates for 17 constituencies.

The party was allocated 20 seats during the seat-sharing talks with the AIADMK.

BJPs Rajya Sabha MP and partys national general secretary Arun Singh announced that L Murugan will contest from Dharapuram (reserved) constituency.

Both H Raja and Vanathi Srinivasan would seek their electoral fortunes from their home constituencies of Karaikudi and Coimbatore South, respectively.

Raja had represented the Karaikudi constituency from 2001 2006.

Also, he unsuccessfully contested against Karti Chidambaram of the Congress in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Vanathi Srinivasan who was recently elevated as the national president of BJP Mahila Morcha, is a lawyer and television debator.

Khushbu will make her electoral debut from the citys Thousand Lights constituency.

After a stint in the DMK and Congress, she joined the BJP in October last year.

Though the choice of Murugan as president of the state unit in 2019 took everyone by surprise, the 43-year-old who had been known as being former vice chairman of National Commission for Schedule Castes, shot up to fame by his month- long Vel yatra which aimed to consolidate the Hindu votes in the state and he had even courted arrest for violating the prohibitory orders.

'Lord Murugan is in Palani, close to my constituency.

He will ensure my victory. With His blessings the BJP candidates will register an impressive win and make it to the state assembly,' he said on Sunday.

Partys state vice president and former IPS officer K Annamalai, who joined the party recently, has been fielded from Aravakurichi.

Also, in a surprise turn of events, DMKs legislator from Thiruparankundram, P Saravanan who was denied ticket by the Dravidian major, shifted loyalty to the BJP on Sunday and barely hours of joining the saffron party, he was given the ticket to contest from Madurai North constituency.

Nainar Nagendran, the former AIADMK minister who had joined the BJP, has been fielded from Tirunelveli constituency where he had filed his nomination on Friday even before his name was announced by the party.

Partys youth wing president Vinoj P Selvam, will contest from Harbour, while former MLA Kalivarathan from Thirukovilur, S Thanigavelu from Tiruvannamalai, C K Saraswathi: Modakurichi, D Periyaswamy: Thittakudi (reserved), S Venkatesan: Thiruvaiyaru, G Pandurangan: Virudhunagar, D Kuppuram: Ramanathapuram, M R Gandhi: Nagercoil and P Ramesh: Colachel.

The party will announce its pick for the remaining three constituencies of Thali, Udhagamandalam and Vilavancode. PTI JSP ROH ROH