Finally, in the midst of a political and leadership crisis, Tamil Nadu's Opposition party ADMK has released the names of two candidates who will be contested in the upcoming Rajya Sabha polls in the state. The announcement has come two weeks ahead of the election and at a high time when the process of filing the nominations for the polls has been underway.
As we have reported earlier, the ADMK leadership has awarded a seat to former minister CV Shanmugam, who is a supporter of the party's joint coordinator and Opposition leader Edappadi Palaniswami. Six Rajya Sabha seats from Tamil Nadu will be vacant next month. Based on the current strength in the assembly, DMK can win four seats while the ADMK can grab the rest two seats with the support of its allied parties like BJP and PMK.
While a seat has been awarded to CV Shanmugam, another seat has been given to the associate of Panneerselvam, who is the party's Chief coordinator. According to reports, R Dharmar, the former party secretary in Ramanathapuram and sitting panchayat union secretary of Mudukalathur has been awarded a seat, which took the party cadres to surprise as he was not in the race. While Shanmugam belongs to the Vanniyar community, Dharmar is from the Maravar sub-sect of Mukkolathors.
The announcement of the final candidates had come after the ADMK leaders Palaniswami, Panneerselvam, KP Munusamy, and R Vaithilingam had a three-hour discussion. Shanmugam had served as the Tamil Nau Law Minister in the previous ADMK regime. The reports say that Dharmar was instrumental in organizing a meeting in his district for Panneerselvam, when the latter had undertaken 'Dharma Yudham' in 2017.
A senior leader has said that by fielding Shanmugam and Dharmar, the party has maintained a balance between two prominent communities. The race to win the Rajya Sabha seats was intense in the ADMK with several senior leaders including formers minister D Jayakumar, Valarmathi, Gokula Indira, and Semmalai had contested against each other for the seats. However, the party has finalized Shanmugam and Dharmar for the polls that will be held on June 10.
The nominations for electing six members of Rajya Sabha from Tamil Nadu have started on Tuesday - May 24. The nomination papers will be scrutinized on June 1 at 11 am and following the scrutiny, the notice of withdrawal of candidature can be submitted either by the candidate or by any of his authorized proposers before 3 pm on June 3. If the polls warrant voting, the election will be held on June 10 between 9 am to 4 pm in the Legislature Committee Room in the Chief Secretariat. If the final nomination list carries only six candidates, they will be elected to six seats unopposed.
On the other hand, in the four confirmed seats, the DMK has allotted a seat to its ally Congress. However, the national party is yet to announce its candidate for the one seat. The DMK has announced that of those three current candidates, the party would retain the candidacy of KRN Rajeshkumar, who was elected unopposed to the upper house last year in a by-poll. The two other members - TKS Elangovan and RS Bharathi won't be given another term and to replace them, MK Stalin has named two new candidates.
The two new candidates are- Thanjai Su Kalyanasundaram, a party veteran and district secretary of Thanjavur north district, and R Girirajan, the party's legal wing secretary. While winning three seats in the Rajya Sabha would keep the total strength of DMK intact with ten members, Tamil Nadu's main opposition ADMK would see its strength declining. The ADMK, which now has five members in the upper house, would have four members after the polls. ADMK's three members A Navaneethakrishnan, SR Balasubramoniyan, and A Vijayakumar are at the end of their tenures.