With only six MPs retaining their respective seats in the AIADMK, there was a turn around as the candidature list was announced on Sunday evening, with a majority of them being left out.
While 14 new faces will enter the fray, the ones who managed to retain their seats are: P Venugopal, J Jayavardhan, K Maragadham, V Elumalai, C Mahendran and M Thambidurai.
A former MP who was denied a seat said, on condition of anonymity, “After having held several posts within the party, Amma (Jayalalithaa) gave me an opportunity in 2014 and I’m sure I’ve done my best to represent the constituency and the state in the parliament. This was unexpected. This indicates that the current leadership doesn’t care about the work one does.”
In January, AIADMK’s Rajya Sabha member V Maitreyan took to Facebook to express his disappointment for not being included in any of the three pre-poll committees meant for manifesto preparation, alliance-related strategising and campaign coordination.
Another outgoing MP, who was denied a seat, said that the past two years have been unhappy ones and it has spiked in the past few months, added another leader who also failed to make it to the final list of candidates. “We understand if the constituency was given away to alliance partners. But rejecting us, even after our we showed our performance at the parliament, is not acceptable. The current leadership has failed to understand the sentiments of cadres,” he said.
Interestingly, the Lok Sabha MPs and two Rajya Sabha MPs who supported O Panneerselvam in 2017, when he dissented due to the domination of VK Sasikala and her family within the AIADMK, have been denied tickets to the parliament.
The AIADMK, which announced its seat sharing arrangement on Sunday, retained most of its constituencies in the western region of the state and just three seats — Madurai, Theni and Tirunelveli — in the southern districts, which are traditionally considered AIADMK’s stronghold. Avoiding the south indicates that AIADMK is not ready to clash with Dhinakaran’s AMMK, which is considered to have established strong support in these regions.