The Congress party has adopted a contrasting approach in selecting candidates for the upcoming by-polls in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. While Ruby Manoharan, who has a construction business has secured the Nanguneri ticket, the candidature of Puducherry’s Kamaraj Nagar constituency has gone to John Kumar. Kumar is the owner of the biggest cable network in the Union territory. Along with these two seats, the Vikravandi assembly seat in Tamil Nadu will also go to polls on October 21. The results will be declared on October 24.
Originally, H Vasanthakumar was the Member of Legislative Assembly from Nanguneri. However, the seat fell vacant after he won the Lok Sabha election from Kanyakumari in 2019. Once the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) allowed its alliance partner Congress to contest the by-poll, internal fissures within the party came to the fore. The other strong contender for the post was the octogenarian leader Kumari Ananthan. He is the father of Telangana Governor and former BJP leader Tamilisai Soundararajan. Speculation is rife that his age played an important role in Congress president Sonia Gandhi finally approving Manoharan’s name instead. The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) has fielded V Narayanan, who too is a realtor.
In Kamaraj Nagar, former CM N Rangasamy’s All India NR Congress (AINRC) will take on Congress’ candidate Kumar. After V Vaithilingam won in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, he resigned paving way for the by-election. On the other hand, DMK is contesting against AIADMK in Vikravandi, Tamil Nadu. Compared to the election in Puducherry, the two seats in Tamil Nadu are more crucial as the AIADMK would want to increase their tally. The ruling party managed to save the state government by winning 9 out of the 22 by-elections held earlier this year. Despite this, they have a thin majority in the Legislative Assembly. The last day for filing nominations to all the three seats is September 30.