With the decks clear for all the four candidates of the ruling party and the lone CPI nominee following the withdrawal of one from the race by AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa, now the contest has effectively narrowed down to the DMK and the DMDK as to who will win the sixth seat. Though it was said that the DMK was largely banking on the support of the DMDK to field Kanimozhi, the eleventh hour decision of actor politician Vijayakant to field a party nominee in the fray has added an interesting twist to the election.
With the DMDK entering the race, the votes of the seven rebel legislators of the party have become crucial. The AIADMK has sufficient number of MLAs to win four seats and has 15 more to spare. So CPI’s D Raja, contesting for the fifth seat, will have the support of 34 (CPI-8, CPM-10, AIADMK-15, AIFB-1), which should be enough for winning the Rajya Sabha seat. Two MLAs each of the MMK and Puthiya Thamizhagam (PT), besides the PMK (3) and Congress (5) — 12 votes in all — are yet to announce their stand.
Given the present scenario, the votes of the seven dissident MLAs of the DMDK assume significance. Since the seven rebels are already open supporters of the AIADMK, their role in the by-election could be the deciding factor for the sixth seat.
While the leaders of MMK and PT could not be reached to ascertain their views, PMK sources said the party might take a decision on June 21 at its executive meeting. A clear picture is expected to emerge on June 20, the last date for withdrawal of nomination papers.