Karunanidhi asks Congress for help in RS polls | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Karunanidhi asks Congress for help in RS polls

Any pact among parties for the Rajya Sabha elections on June 27 may set a new direction for the Lok Sabha poll alliances in Tamil Nadu. Shekhar Iyer and Saubhadra Chatterji report.

delhi Updated: Jun 15, 2013 01:59 IST

Any pact among parties for the Rajya Sabha elections on June 27 may set a new direction for the Lok Sabha poll alliances in Tamil Nadu.

With six Rajya Sabha seats from the state falling vacant, the fate of DMK chief M Karunanidhi's daughter, Kanimozhi, hangs in balance. Her first term-- along with five other MPs from Tamil Nadu-- as a member of the Upper House ends on July 24.

But, with just 23 MLAs in the state assembly, the DMK has little hope to get her elected as she needs support from at least 34 MLAs to win.

But support from DMDK can help Kanimozhi return to the Rajya Sabha.

However, Vijaykanth is under pressure to either nominate his wife Premalatha or brother-in-law LK Sudheesh.

Also, Vijaykanth, who is currently the leader of the opposition in the state assembly, faces a crisis in his party too.

Six of 29 DMDK MLAs have announced support for AIADMK leader and chief minister Jayalalithaa who wants to prevent his support to the DMK. Vijayakanth either will have to boycott the Rajya Sabha elections or support the DMK, come what may.

A small player, the Congress, which has five MLAs is willing to back the DMK if it can win the support of the DMDK.

The Congress' willingness to help Karunanidhi, despite the DMK parting ways with the UPA over the Lanka issue, marks a new beginning in the ties between the two parties. It may eventually open up the possibility of the three sides working together for the Lok Sabha polls, local leaders say.

A top Congress strategist told HT that back-channel talks have re-started with the DMK. Although there is almost no possibility to Karunanidhi's return to the UPA but the two parties are working on tacit understanding on issues including support for land bill and food bill.

"We have told DMK leadership that they should decide with DMDK on the choice of the candidate. Whoever is chosen as the DMK-DMDK candidate, we will support his or her candidature," the Congress leader said.

A senior cabinet minister involved in parliamentary floor management said, "A large section of the DMK leadership is not very happy with the outcome of the decision to withdraw support from the UPA. TR Balu played a key role in convincing Karunanidhi to withdraw support but other leaders now see it as a misfiring. They too, are keen on a tacit understanding so that ahead of the elections in 2014, possibility of a political arrangement can reopen."

Given 151 MLAs on its side, the AIADMK is sure to get at least four out of the 6 seats. Jayalalithaa is yet to respond to the request by the CPI for support. The CPI has only eight members in the assembly and their support base will increase to 18 in the event of the CPI(M), which has 10 MLAs, extending its support. The party would still need 16 surplus of the AIADMK to elect its candidate. CPI's D Raja is hoping for a second term.