The BJP has accused Finance Minister P Chidambaram of “running away” from contesting the national election because he is “not ready to face the public.”
Mr. Chidambaram, 68, has represented Sivaganga from Tamil Nadu for seven terms. Last night, the Congress announced his son, Karti, a 42-year-old lawyer, is its new candidate.
“P Chidambaram who has remained Finance Minister for seven out of 10 years has transformed Shining India to Gloom India,” said BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman this morning. She said the Congress “have no will to fight, they’ve conceded defeat.”
Sources in the Congress admit that the party, which is forecast to amass one of its worst defeats ever in the general election, has failed to convince senior leaders to contest from Tamil Nadu. Union Shipping Minister GK Vasan is among them.
For the first time in nearly 19 years, the Congress will contest the election for Tamil Nadu’s 39 parliamentary seats without an ally.
Mani Shankar Aiyar, a Rajya Sabha MP from the Congress, will contest again from Mayiladuthurai, a seat he held for 10 years before losing the last election in 2009 to the AIADMK.
In that election, however, the Congress in partnership with the regional powerhouse of the DMK won an impressive 29 seats. This time, the alliance was reportedly nixed by MK Stalin, the son and political heir of DMK chief N Karunanidhi.
“The DMK not taking us on board is a political reality. We’ve to face it,” said Karti Chidambaram candidly, emphasizing that he did not see “an isolation of the Congress” in Tamil Nadu.
His father’s election to the Lok Sabha in 2009 has been challenged in court by Raja Kannappan, the man he defeated by a tiny margin of about 3,000 votes.