Chennai: The filing of nominations for elections to Tamilnadu’s six Rajya Sabha seats (falling vacant next month) will begin tomorrow.
The Election Commission recently announced that elections would be held 18 July. The counting of votes will be undertaken the same day soon after the voting.
Candidates can file their nomination from tomorrow till 8 July, which will be scrutinised on a ninth day. Withdrawal of candidature would be allowed until 11 July. The terms of six Rajya Sabha members are to end on 24 July. The outgoing members include DMK leader Kanimozhi, who was recently elected to the Lok Sabha. The five other members are D Raja of CPI and R Lakshmanan, K R Arjunan, V Maitreyan and T Rathinavel, all of AIADMK.
It is said that the ruling AIADMK and the opposition DMK can win three seats each. Also as per prepoll arrangement during Lok Sabha elections, one Rajya Sabha seat from DMK will go to the MDMK – most probably to MDMK leader Vaiko.
Among the names doing the rounds in the DMK for the RS openings are that of Dravidian outfit’s trade union wing Labour Progressive Front leader P Shanmugam and former additional solicitor general P Wilson. AIADMK and DMK have the requisite numbers to elect three members each in the 234-member Assembly with two vacancies. If the two parties name only three nominees each, there will be no contest. The AIADMK has 123 MLAs including the Speaker, the DMK 100, its allies the Congress seven, the IUML one and Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam leader T T V Dhinakaran is an independent.
Meanwhile, there were reports doing rounds that the Congress was pressing for former prime minister Manmohan Singh to be fielded from Tamilnadu to the Rajya Sabha. PTI quoted a DMK leader as saying that the party wanted to see its numbers go up in Rajya Sabha to fight for Tamilnadu’s rights. For this, the party will field its own nominees, but the decision on candidates will be taken by Stalin.
Reacting to the speculation, a Congress senior was quoted by PTI as saying that considering aspects like DMK’s line on state autonomy, the Dravidian party may wish to back a candidate from Tamilnadu and anyway his party has not pressed on Manmohan Singh’s name.