AIADMK in a soup over RS nominations as BJP tries to retain its ground

Updated 9:13 PM, 7 June, 2019
Tamil Nadu, Elections, Rajya Sabha, Upper House, Lower House, Lok Sabha elections, AIADMK, DMK
Tamil Nadu CM K Palaniswami, PM Narendra Modi, and PMK founder Ramadoss at a public rally. Photo: PTI

With the tenure of the six Member of Parliaments from Tamil Nadu coming to an end on July 24, the tussle within parties in the state is getting more intense as both the DMK and AIADMK can each nominate three MPs.

In the Rajya Sabha, of the 18 MPs, DMK MP Kanimozhi retired after she contested and won in the Lok Sabha polls. Now the representation in the Upper House is reduced to 17. Of the 17 MPs, the tenure of AIADMK MPs V Maitrayen, R Lakshmanan, T Rathinavel and KR Arjunan, and CPI MP D Raja ends on July 24.

The announcement for the RS polls in Tamil Nadu is likely to take place in the coming week. There is a rift among AIADMK party cadres as most of the Lok Sabha candidates who lost the election want a seat to the Upper House, which puts pressure on the party leadership.

According to an AIADMK worker, former Lok Sabha deputy speaker Thambi Durai, who is known for speaking against the 10 per cent reservation for the poor in the OBC category in the Lok Sabha, is one of the people pressurizing the party high command for a RS ticket.

However, the party heads have said they may not give tickets to people who lost in the Lok Sabha polls. “In the LS polls, as we had given half of our existing seats to the alliance parties, many seniors did not get a chance to contest. So, few among them may be given a chance in the RS,” the AIADMK worker said.

Apart from Thambi Durai, senior leaders including former minister KP Munusamy, former MLA S Gokula Indira, and former MPs Anwar Raja and Maitreyan, are also in the race to get a RS seat.

In a fix

Though four AIADMK RS members’ tenure is getting over by July, the AIADMK can only nominate three RS members as its strength in the Assembly reduced in the recent bypolls.

Of the three AIADMK tickets, the party has already assured one to ally party PMK. Speculations were rife that PMK’s Anbumani Ramadoss will seek that seat for one of his family members. However, as Anbumani himself did not retain his seat in the Lok Sabha polls, it is most likely that he will get the RS seat.

Meanwhile, the BJP, another ally, is believed to be pressurising the AIADMK for one RS seat as the former also failed to retain its one representative from the Kanyakumari Lok Sabha constituency.

“Earlier, it was said that it (the BJP) may recommend External Affairs Minister Jaishankar from Tamil Nadu, as the state is his base. But it managed to accommodate him from Gujarat. Now, it is seeking a RS seat for someone else,” another AIADMK worker said.

Sources in the BJP confirmed this and said the party was desperately looking for chances to gain a foothold in Tamil Nadu. “We do not want to lose a single chance to get a hold in Tamil Nadu. The one RS seat will be given to Pon Radhakrishnan or CP Radhakrishnan,” a BJP worker said.

DMK seats

As far as the DMK is concerned, the party had already assured MDMK leader Vaiko one RS seat, apart from giving the party one Lok Sabha seat. As Vaiko did not contest in the Lok Sabha elections, it is most likely that he will get the RS ticket.

In the DMK, though not many seniors are demanding for a RS seat, sources said that the party high command is considering senior advocate NR Elangovan, KS Radhakrishnan and party’s trade union Labour Progressive Federation general secretary M Shanmugam.