Chennai: The growing bonhomie between Rahul Gandhi and MK Stalin in Tamil Nadu has triggered talks of the DMK conceding one Rajya Sabha seat to the Congress in elections to the Upper House next year. The DMK, with the Congress, can win three out of six seats up for grabs from the state.
One of the names doing the rounds to enter Rajya Sabha from Tamil Nadu with DMK support is that of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Singh is currently a Rajya Sabha member from Assam. His term expires next year. And the two RS seats from the north-eastern state this time around are likely to go to the BJP.
The former PM smiled when News18.com asked him at the launch of his auto-biography earlier this week if he may enter Rajya Sabha from TN in 2019.
“It is unlikely that Dr Singh will get the numbers from Assam. So Tamil Nadu is one options the Congress may be looking at, especially as some leaders from the DMK may want to contest Lok Sabha instead of seeking a RS nomination,” a top DMK leader told News18.com.
Congress sources say the party wants Singh to remain a member of the House in the future. The party is, however, cautious of confirming anything just yet. “It is too early to talk about the Rajya Sabha elections. The Congress high command hasn't discussed anything with us. Whatever our leader Rahul ji says, we will follow,” Tamil Nadu Congress president Thirunavukkarasar said.
With Tamil Nadu as the only option available, the Congress may nominate Singh from the southern state if things go according to plan in the Lok Sabha elections. Of the six MPs from Tamil Nadu whose term will end next year, four are from AIADMK and one each from CPI and DMK.
The one DMK seat in this lot of six is held by DMK chief Stalin’s sister K Kanimozhi. After the demise of DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi, MK Stalin, who filled in the shoes, is said to have cleared Kanimozhi’s name to contest 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
A top DMK source confirmed to News18.com that Kanimozhi is likely to contest from Thoothukudi in southern Tamil Nadu. DMK insiders add that Kanimozhi has already started the ground work in the constituency. The seat is dominated by the Nadars, the community Kanimozhi's mother belongs to.
If Kanimozhi finally takes the plunge, this would be the first time she would be facing a direct election. She has been a Rajya Sabha member twice — once in 2007 and again in 2013.
The Sterlite Plant which witnessed massive protests earlier this year also falls in the constituency. In May, protests between demonstrators and police turned violent, resulting in the loss of 13 lives. The Tamil Nadu government continues to face legal hurdles as the latest National Green Tribunal order states that the Sterlite Thoothukudi plant can be reopened.