Chennai: The ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) in Tamil Nadu, which has for long attacked the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) for dynastic politics, has drawn criticism for nominating sons of its leaders including O Panneerselvam for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

Among 20 candidates from the DMK, six are the children of prominent leaders while the AIADMK has allotted four of the 20 seats for party leaders.

Both the DMK and the AIADMK, however, contend that only hard work and loyalty of the candidates have been recognised and they cannot be denied ticket just because of the stature of their kin.

Eyebrows raised when AIADMK coordinator and deputy chief minister Panneerselvam's son Ravindranathkumar was given a ticket from Theni constituency, but the party stoutly defended the candidature, saying he has been rewarded for loyalty and hard work.

Though both the Dravidian majors are facing questions on family politics, the ruling party especially finds itself in the dock since its late leader J Jayalalithaa had often used it to target her party's arch rival, DMK.

The two parties are contesting 20 seats each, after having allotted the rest 19 seats to their respective allies. Elections to 39 Lok Sabha seats in Tamil Nadu are scheduled on April 18 in a single phase polling.

Political observers point out that dynasty politics has often dominated the DMK, with its late chief M Karunanidhi's children, MK Stalin (incumbent party president), former leader MK Alagiri and Kanimozhi being involved in active politics.

Stalin is former deputy chief minister while Alagiri has been expelled from the DMK in 2014. He was a minister in the Congress-led UPA at the Centre and Kanimozhi has been a Rajya Sabha member since 2007.

TRB Raja and IP Senthilkumar are MLAs in the present state Assembly.

Raja is the son of senior DMK leader TR Baalu, who is fighting the Lok Sabha polls from Sriperumbudur, while former minister and sitting legislator I Periyasamy is Senthilkumar's father.

Among DMK's 20 candidates for the April 18 polls, six are children of prominent leaders including Kanimozhi and former Union minister Dayanidhi Maran, the grandnephew of Karunanidhi. He was MP between 2004 and 2014 and a minister in UPA I and II.

The other candidates fielded by the DMK whose fathers happen to be senior leaders including former ministers are Kalanidhi Veerasamy, Gowtham Sigamani, T Sumathi alias Tamizhachi Thangapandian and DM Kathir Anand.

According to reports, Kanimozhi justified the party move, saying the selected candidates were not outsiders. "Only those who have been working for the party for long have been given a seat, not that someone has been brought from outside," she said.

There was no need to deny ticket to somebody just because the person happened to be a political heir, she added.