shivani chaturvedi
CHENNAI, 20 JUNE: With the deadline for withdrawal of nomination papers coming to an end on Thursday, there are seven candidates in the fray for six Rajya Sabha seats. The election will be held on 27 June.
The candidates are Mr K R Arjunan, Mr R Lakshmanan, Mr V Maitreyan (sitting MP) and Mr T Rathinavel, from All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK); Ms Kanimozhi (sitting MP) of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK); Mr D Raja of Communist Party of India (CPI) and Mr A R Elangovan of Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK).
Political analysts feel that DMK chief Mr M Karunanidhi has played his cards quite well to assure victory of his daughter, Ms Kanimozhi. DMK has succeeded in getting support of smaller parties like Manidhaneya Makkal Katchi (MMK) and the Dalit outfit Puthiya Tamizhagam (PT). With PT and MMK extending support to the DMK, the number of votes with the DMK goes up to 27. The PT and MMK have two members each. And in all probability Dr S Ramadoss&’s party Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), which has three members will extend support to the DMK. With this, total votes with the DMK will be 30.
The DMK, which has 23 members in the Assembly, is set to contest the sixth seat against the DMDK&’s candidate Mr A R Elangovan.
The DMDK had 29 members; however, seven members of the DMDK have switched their loyalty to AIADMK. With this the DMDK is left with 22 members. The DMDK has sought the support of the Congress, which has five members in the Assembly. However, the Congress has not yet made its stand clear as to whether it will support DMK or DMDK. The ruling AIADMK is already assured of four seats with its strength of 151 members in the 234-member Assembly. The CPI, with eight members of its own, is assured of victory for its candidate, Mr D Raja, with the support of CPI-M, which has 10 members, and All India Forward Bloc which has one member, besides the surplus votes of AIADMK.
It is after 17 years that Tamil Nadu will witness contest in the Rajya Sabha elections. The last time was in February 1996 when voting took place, when five nominees of the AIADMK and Congress candidate Mr Peter Alphonse were elected. There was one more candidate in the fray, Mr Udaya Bhanu who belonged to a rebel Congress group.