In Tamil Nadu’s Alliance Arithmetic, AIADMK and DMK Use Rajya Sabha Seats to Change Equations

AIADMK leader O Panneerselvam and DM president MK Stalin.

AIADMK leader O Panneerselvam and DM president MK Stalin.

Of the six Rajya Sabha seats up for grabs, four are currently with the AIADMK, one with DMK and one with CPI.

Poornima Murali
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Chennai: As both DMK and the AIADMK are busy sealing deals with smaller parties and allotting constituencies for the alliance partners, both the Dravidian parties have decided to give one Rajya Sabha seat each to the allies.

Elections to six Rajya Sabha seats will take place in June, one month after results of Lok Sabha elections are declared. Of the six seats up for grabs, four are currently with the AIADMK, one with DMK and one with CPI.

DMK’s tally of RS seats, however, may increase to three as there are 21 assembly constituencies that are set to go for bypolls and the party is hopeful of a positive result.

Speculation is rife that in case DMK’s tally for Rajya Sabha does increase, one seat may go to former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh as part of the seat sharing deal agreed by the two parties. Singh’s RS tenure ends in June.

Late Dravidian patriarch Karunanidhi’s daughter Kanimozhi’s Rajya Sabha tenure also comes to an end in June but the DMK MP has decided to contest the Lok Sabha polls from Thoothukudi constituency. She has filed an application at the party office expressing her eagerness to contest.

DMK maintains that RS candidates will be decided post the Lok Sabha elections. However, a top source from the DMK said Vaiko is likely to be one of the candidates on behalf of the party. Vaiko's MDMK has been promised a Rajya Sabha seat to seal the tie-up.

As for the AIADMK, four of their members' tenure ends this year. V Maitreyan is one of the four and the Rajya Sabha MP is hoping to contest in the Lok Sabha polls from Chennai central constituency but the final decision is yet to be taken by AIADMK. Sources suggest that the final candidates will be decided by next week.

AIADMK has also promised a Rajya Sabha seat to the PMK. With the AIADMK trying to bring the DMDK on board, Vijaykanth too, is demanding a Rajya Sabha seat for his party but the AIADMK does not want to give one more seat to its allies. This is precisely why the DMDK has still not decided whether to go on board with the AIADMK-led-alliance in Tamil Nadu.

Political analyst RK Radhakrishnan, associate editor with the Frontline said that as there are only 39 Lok Sabha seats in Tamil Nadu, and they have to be divided among several allies, Rajya Sabha has given parties an alternative to offer to potential partners.

“Allies of both the DMK and AIADMK want to contest from a certain number of seats. Given the equation and the fact that six RS seats are falling vacant in June, it is easy for a party with the numbers in the Assembly to part those seats. Neither the AIADMK nor the DMK have any significant number of seats in the Rajya Sabha. In the Lok Sabha, it is a different scene altogether,” he said.

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