Sources in both the Left parties told Express that the CPM has already committed its support for CPI National Secretary D Raja, even as CPM state secretary G Ramakrishnan maintained that the proposal would have to be approved at the meeting of the party’s state committee, slated to be held on Monday.
With the backing of the CPM’s 10 legislators, Raja would have the votes of 18 MLAs behind him. This would set the tone for the showdown with K Kanimozhi, whose DMK has 23 MLAs, for the sixth Rajya Sabha seat. The CPI has been categorically told by the AIADMK that its spare MLAs would be used to ensure its candidate secures the fifth seat. That leaves the result in the hands of the DMDK. Even as back-channel talks with other parties to secure support for its first Parliament seat seems to have fallen through, DMDK MLAs on Sunday urged their leader Vijayakanth to field a candidate in the polls. The plea came at a high-level meeting of the party’s MLAs and senior functionaries on Sunday.
The DMDK has also issued a diktat to all of its MLAs to remain in Chennai.
If the DMDK chooses to give the support of its 22 MLAs to either Raja or Kanimozhi, then the contest for the sixth seat is sealed. In the event it chooses to field its own candidate, then it would all come close to the bone. Though political observers see this as a ploy for hard bargaining with the DMK, DMDK legislators have been vociferous that ‘Captain’ choose a candidate on the grounds that they are the principal opposition and should definitely contest in the Rajya Sabha polls. Another point they have raised is that when the Left can field a candidate with only 18 MLAs, why shouldn’t their party field its own candidate when it has 22 MLAs.