I / Chennai May 2, 2009, 12:09 IST
Smaller and fledgling parties like the DMDK floated by actor Vijaykant and well entrenched Congress and DMK account for the top "cororepati" candidates in fray for the May 13 Lok Sabha elections in Tamil Nadu. While DMK's candidate for Karur, K C Palanisamy tops the list having declared assets worth about Rs 77 crore, Sarubala R Thondaman (Congress), a scion of erstwhile Pudukottai Royal clan, comes a distant second with family assets pegged at Rs 56.62 crore. She is contesting the Tiruchirappalli seat. President of Kongunadu Munnetra Peravai (KMP), a party floated by dominant Kongu Vellala Gounders association, and its Pollachi candidate Best S Ramasamy, an industrialist has declared assets worth Rs 49.56 crore and is the third richest candidate. DMDK's Dindigul candidate Muthuvelraj is in the fifth slot declaring assets worth Rs 27.05 crore, pushing Union Home Minister P Chidambaram to the next spot. Another DMDK nominee Michael Rayappan, contesting in Tirunelveli, has declared assets worth Rs 26 crore. "Elections have become costly in the state due to the fact that the DMK and AIADMK have amassed wealth while in office. While selecting candidates, we considered many factors including the aspirants' capacity to stand on their own," DMDK Presidium Chairman Panruti Ramachandran told PTI. But there were some candidates in their party who could not even afford the booth-level expenses, he said. DMDK has two more crorepati candidates — K. Pandiarajan (Virudhunagar - Rs 7.10 crore) and youth wing Secretary Kallakurichi L K Sudheesh (Kallakurichi - Rs 5.20 crore). "Moneyed people want social acceptance and more power. They cannot easily break into the highly hierarchical DMK and AIADMK.
So they prefer a fledgling party like the DMDK to enter public life," said Solai, a political analyst. While MK and Congress feature most in the list of richest candidates, the absence of the AIADMK in the list shows the social strata from where the parties get their candidates. P Chidambaram, who filed his nomination in Sivaganga, declared assets worth Rs 27 crore, including the assets of his wife Nalini, a leading lawyer. The value of the assets of Chidambaram and his wife had gone up from a total of Rs 17.50 crore to Rs 27 crore now. The minister owns a house in Chennai worth Rs 4.50 crore and has deposits worth Rs 6.65 crore. Sarubala, who is the Mayor of Tiruchirappalli, easily races past other contenders with her family's long retinue of cars. She and her husband Thondaman own as many as 10 cars, including two Boleros, a Toyota Innova and a Montero. She is the only candidate to be a proud owner of a palace, whose value has been pegged at a meagre Rs 25 lakh. Congress candidate for Coimbatore and former union minister R Prabhu is probably the only contender who owns the expensive BMW car. According to his affidavits, he has assets, including those of his wife, worth Rs 22 crore. The Massachusetts-educated engineer and industrialist Prabhu along with his wife has the most jewellery collections, possessing 2,220 grams of gold with precious stones worth about Rs 34 lakh and 25 kg of silver. Sarubala has disclosed 920 gm jewels and three kg of silver. Film actor Karthik, founder of Nadalum Makkal Katchi, has filed his nomination for the Virudhunagar Lok Sabha constituency on Thursday. According to his affidavit, his movable assets are worth Rs 33.70 lakh and his immovable assets Rs 5.67 crore. Former Union Minister Dayanidhi Maran, contesting from the Chennai Central constituency had declared assets worth Rs 2.48 crore. In his affidavit, Maran, who is grand-nephew of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, said he had Rs 1.84 crore as deposits in the banks, financial institutions and non-banking financial companies. In Mayiladuthurai, Union Minister Mani Shankar Aiyer of Congress declared assets worth Rs 7.2 crore while another Union Minister T R Baalu (DMK-Sriperumbudur) has declared assets worth Rs 7.6 crore.