Political heat in Tamil Nadu: DMK is ready...What about ADMK?

Tamil Nadu has been gearing up for the upcoming Rajya Sabha polls, which will be held next month. While the state ruling DMK has announced the candidates, the ADMK has been in an idling state as the party's leadership is yet to finalize the candidates. In line with the ADMK, the Congress party hasn't disclosed its candidate for one seat that was awarded to the party by the DMK as part of the coalition deal.

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. With the announcement of the candidates, DMK is ready with three candidates. The state ruling party has the numbers in the assembly that would make the party win four seats out of six. However, DMK has given a seat to the Congress party and finalized its three candidates. 

However, the state's opposition party ADMK is yet to announce its final candidates. With its strength in the assembly and with the support of BJP and PMK MLAs, ADMK can win the rest two seats. For these two seats, the party has been witnessing a race between dozen of leaders including the former ministers. ADMK, which has already been frailing over the leadership crisis and back to back electoral defeats, is witnessing a dispute between the top two leaders to win a seat for their favourite candidates. 

The ADMK can win two seats but the two power centres in the party are yet to arrive at a consensus in finalizing the candidates. According to reports, ADMK's joint coordinator Edappadi Palaniswami (EPS) aims to nominate his close associates D Jayakumar and CV Shanmugam, both were former ministers, to the two Rajya Sabha seats, ADMK's coordinator O Panneerselvam (OPS) has other plans as he aims to nominate his close associate Syed Ahmed Khan, who is the party's Theni district president. 

IANS had earlier reported that though the two leaders have their own choices, a recently-held brainstorming session of the party has brought out some suggestions, including considering one candidate with a legal background. It has been reported that senior leader and former minister Valarmathi, who attended the session, told both EPS and OPS that nominating and sending a person with a legal background to the Rajya Sabha would give the party a good standing. She further said that the DMK has senior lawyers in Rajya Sabha. 

The credible sources assert that CV Shanmugam could win a seat while several leaders like Semmalai, Gokula Indira, D Jayakumar, and Valarmathi are also in the race to win a seat. Six Rajya Sabha seats will fall vacant in the state and of these six vacancies, DMK and ADMK have three members each. As per the current tally in the assembly, the DMK and its alliance can win four seats unopposed while ADMK can grab two seats to its kitty. 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. The DMK has awarded one seat to the Congress party, as agreed during the 2021 state assembly polls. A race has begun in the Congress party to win that one seat and according to reports, veteran Congress leader and former union minister P Chidambaram eyes to enter the Rajya Sabha for the first time from Tamil Nadu by grabbing this one seat.

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 tenure.