The otherwise quiet biennial election to the Rajya Sabha from Tamil Nadu took a serious turn on Saturday with different parties trying to outsmart each another despite having insufficient strength to win a seat except the AIADMK.
The DMK, having just 23 legislators in its kitty, fielded party patriarch M Karunanidhi’s 2G scam-tainted daughter Kanimozhi for a second consecutive term, though DMDK chief Vijayakant was playing his cards close to his chest. However, CPM’s Brinda Karat said upfront in Madurai that her party will not support Kanimozhi.
There were hectic behind-the-scene parleys between various parties on who would support whom, given the fact that any support in the RS polls would mean a redrawing of the political map to face the LS elections next year.
Amidst reports that the DMK was holding talks with the DMDK and CPM seeking support, Kanimozhi filed her nomination papers before Returning Officer A M P Jamaludeen at the Secretariat. She was accompanied by brother and DMK treasurer M K Stalin along with other party functionaries.
Asked about her prospects since the DMK’s current strength is far below the number of votes required for winning the seat, Kanimozhi said: “Our leader Kalaignar (Karunanidhi) had, in the past, won a Rajya Sabha seat even when the party had just 22 MLAs in the Assembly. I have filed my nomination papers on the confidence given by my leader and my brother Stalin. I am sure I will win the seat.”
With her entering the fray, the number of candidates from recognised political parties has gone up to six. The ruling AIADMK had already fielded five candidates. The CPI is likely to announce the candidature of its senior leader D Raja anytime after its State Executive Committee meeting. Party sources said the CPI’s top brass had already cleared the name of Raja for the post.
But the State council’s executive committee had to give its formal approval.
Meanwhile, a senior DMDK leader collected nomination papers from the office of the Returning Officer, adding curiosity and giving rise to speculation that the party too might enter the ring. For, the DMK is largely banking on the support of the DMDK for the seat.
Senior Congress leader and Union Minister Jayanthi Natarajan had called on Karunanidhi on Friday fuelling speculation that the five MLAs of the party would extend their support to Kanimozhi in the election.
However, DMK leaders were tightlipped about the strategy of their party, which requires 11 votes, apart from its legislators, to scrape through.
While the Congress may offer its five votes, the DMK has to net another six votes for which the party is making frenetic efforts.