DMK announces 2 candidates for Rajya Sabha, Cong’s hopes dashed
The ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) on Tuesday announced its candidates for both seats from Tamil Nadu in the Rajya Sabha by-election, effectively scrapping any chance for partner Congress to bag a seat.
Dr Kanimozhi NVN Somu, the medical wing secretary and a practising gynaecologist and the party’s East district’s secretary KRN Rajeshkumar Namakkal will contest in the Rajya Sabha bypolls to be held on October 4, said a statement from Tamil Nadu chief minister and DMK chief MK Stalin.
The Congress, a coalition partner of the DMK, was lobbying for one seat to accommodate one of its key leaders. According to two Congress insiders, party’s data analytics department chief Praveen Chakravarthy and former Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad’s names were doing the rounds for a possible Rajya Sabha seat from Tamil Nadu.
While Azad, one of the senior most leaders of the party, needs to be accommodated, a group of young leaders had been supporting Chakravarthy for a Rajya Sabha berth. While Azad had told HT that his chance can come only when the Upper House berths of Jammu and Kashmir come up for vote again. Chakravarthy claimed no one ever offered him a Rajya Sabha ticket.
A Congress leader added that the party’s chance might come next year from Tamil Nadu as more Rajya Sabha seats will fall vacant.
The two vacancies arose following the resignation of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) leaders KP Munusamy and R Vaithilingam, both of whom got elected as MLAs in the assembly elections held in April in Tamil Nadu. The results were declared on May 2 and the duo resigned on May 7 even though Munusamy’s term ends only in 2026 and Vaithilingam’s in 2022.
The DMK-led alliance, also comprising Congress and Left parties, in the state has 159 MLAs in the 234-member legislative assembly. The ruling party is likely to win the two seats, which will increase its strength in the Upper House to 10 out of the total 18 seats the state elects and make the party the fourth largest in the Rajya Sabha.
Earlier this month, DMK’s MM Abdullah was elected unopposed to a seat in the Rajya Sabha that fell vacant after the demise of AIADMK’s Mohammedjan earlier this year.