Chennai: With nomination of candidates for the Rajya Sabha elections opening today, the DMK has had a head start. Minutes after the official notification for the 18 July biennial elections to fill six Rajya Sabha seats from Tamilnadu was issued, the Opposition DMK announced its candidates for two of three seats it could contest.
DMK president M K Stalin, in a statement here, said M Shanmugham, general secretary of Labour Progressive Front (LPF), and advocate P Wilson would be the party’s candidates for the two Rajya Sabha seats.
Wilson (53) came into prominence appearing for various cases of the DMK and its leaders, including its late chief M Karunanidhi. He was instrumental in getting the legal hurdles cleared for the burial Karunanidhi at Marina after his death in August last year.
Shanmugam (77) has been the leader of labour union protests of the DMK. He has been the general secretary of the LPF of the party since 2001.
The DMK, which has 100 MLAs in the 234-member Assembly, could win three seats, as each candidate needs the support of 34 MLAs each. Its ally the Congress has seven MLAs.
While striking the deal with Vaiko’s MDMK during the 2019 general elections, the party had promised it a seat to the Upper House. So, the third candidate from the alliance will most likely be MDMK general secretary Vaiko.
The election is being held to fill up vacancies following the retirement of five members — T Rathinavel, V Maitreyan, K B Arjunan, R Lakshmanan (all AIADMK), D Raja (CPI) – and due to the resignation of DMK’s Kanimozhi following her election to the Lok Sabha.
With the issuance of the notification, filing of nominations opened today. The last date for filing of nominations is 8 July. Scrutiny will take place the next day and the last date for withdrawals is 11 July.
Elections, if necessary, will be held 18 July and counting taken up the same day. As per their existing strength, the ruling AIADMK (123 MLAs) could also win three seats.