Khushbu, Vanathi Srinivasan, H Raja top BJP names for Tamil Nadu Assembly polls


The BJP on Sunday released its first list of 17 candidates for the Tamil Nadu Assembly polls. State president L Murugan, actor-turned-politician Khushbu Sundar, prominent woman leader Vanathi Srinivasan and former party national secretary H Raja were among the prominent faces in the list.

The saffron party, which is in alliance with the ruling AIADMK, is contesting 20 seats and will pick its remaining three nominees in the coming days.

DMK MLA Dr P Saravanan, who quit the party on Sunday morning to join BJP, also figures in the list that the saffron party put out in the evening. He successfully contested the 2019 Thiruparankundram bypoll on a DMK ticket.

While Murugan will contest from Dharapuram constituency in Tirupur district, Khushbu, who dumped the Congress recently to embrace saffron, has been fielded from Thousand Lights constituency in Chennai city. She would face Dr N Ezhilan, a new face in politics contesting on a DMK ticket. While a rookie in electoral politics, Ezhilan is a physician from a prominent family close to late DMK patriarch and former chief minister M Karunanidhi.

One of the most senior and controversial leaders of the party, Raja will enter the fray from Karaikudi constituency. He was fielded by the BJP from the Sivaganga Lok Sabha seat in 2019 but lost.

The party’s national women’s wing president, Vanathi Srinivasan is considered as one of the few popular faces of the BJP in the state. Though seen as a winnable candidate in the constituency, she will face a tough challenge from actor-turned-politician and Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) Kamal Haasan. The MNM is said to have built a good base for itself in Coimbatore South in the 2019 LS polls and could spring a surprise this time. Mayura S Jayakumar of the Congress will rival Srinivasan and Haasan for this seat.

MR Gandhi will contest from Nagercoil constituency, one of the BJP strongholds in the state, while former Karnataka-cadre IPS officer K Annamalai, party youth wing president Vinoj P Selvam, former AIADMK minister Nainar Nagendran will contest the Aravakurichi, Harbour and Tirunelveli constituencies respectively.

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