A day ahead of scrutiny, MDMK founder Vaiko said on Monday (July 8) that he was confident his nomination for the Rajya Sabha elections will be accepted.
Vaiko’s conviction by a Chennai court in a sedition case last week has led to question marks over his eligibility to contest the poll, though the sentence of one year imprisonment does not disqualify him under the Representation of People Act. As an abundant precautionary measure, senior advocate N R Elango filed a nomination on behalf of the DMK, in case Vaiko’s nomination is rejected on scrutiny.
Vaiko expressed confidence that his nomination will be accepted, and that he has been informed that Elango will withdraw his papers in such an event. In an apparent bid to clarify why another candidate from MDMK was not fielded, he said that, as per an informal pre-poll “unwritten” agreement, a Rajya Sabha seat would be allocated by DMK to his party only if he was the nominee.
The main opposition party had allocated one Lok Sabha seat and one Rajya Sabha seat to the MDMK as part of its pre-poll agreement for the April 18 Parliamentary elections. “After the Lok Sabha polls were announced, DMK President (MK) Stalin informed me that the Rajya Sabha allocation will be done for MDMK only if I were to be the candidate,” he told reporters at Dindigul.
He said that his party had wholeheartedly wanted him to be the MDMK’s Rajya Sabha candidate which he accepted. “Had I not been the candidate (of MDMK), the (alliance) talks could have gone in a different way… This is an unwritten agreement between us,” Vaiko said.
Besides a Rajya Sabha seat, MDMK was offered one Lok Sabha seat (Erode) as part of the DMK-led alliance in Tamil Nadu and the party won from the constituency. Referring to the case, Vaiko said prior to the verdict that he had asked Stalin to look for an alternative.
“Only I asked him to pick an alternative,” he added. As a precaution, Elango has been asked to file nomination, Vaiko said, but expressed confidence his papers will be accepted. “I have been informed (by DMK) that if (his nomination is) accepted, Elango will withdraw,” he added.
Vaiko was on July 5 convicted by a special court here in a 2009 sedition case and sentenced to undergo simple imprisonment for a year. Senior advocate P Wilson, quoting provisions, including the Representation of People Act, had said that there was no legal impediment to the MDMK general secretary contesting the Rajya Sabha polls.
Following a plea, the sentence was subsequently stayed for a month for letting him file an appeal against the order. Both the ruling AIADMK and the DMK can send three MPs each to the Upper House by virtue of their respective strengths in the state assembly.
The AIADMK has 123 MLAs and the DMK 100 members in the 234-member Assembly with two vacancies. DMK’s ally Congress has seven legislators, while the IUML has one. AMMK leader TTV Dhinakaran is an Independent member. A candidate needs 34 votes to get elected.
Both AIADMK and DMK have fielded two candidates from their parties. While AIADMK has allocated one seat to ally PMK, DMK shared one seat with the MDMK.