DMK’s Rajya Sabha ticket to Vaiko scuttles Manmohan Singh’s chances
MDMK leader Vaiko is likely to re-enter the Rajya Sabha after more than two decades after the opposition DMK in Tamil Nadu on Monday decided to honour its agreement of allotting one seat in the Upper House of Parliament to its ally.
For the remaining two seats that the DMK could win, the party has fielded an old war horse, M Shanmugham, general secretary of Labour Progressive Federation (LPF), the DMK’s trade union wing, and former Additional Advocate General P Wilson.
DMK president MK Stalin’s announcement on Monday of the candidates and giving one seat to the MDMK has put an end to speculation about former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh getting elected from the DMK’s quota. Singh’s term in the Rajya Sabha ended on June 14.
The biennial elections to the Upper House for six vacant seats are slated for July 18 and the last day of nominations is July 8. Both the ruling AIADMK and the DMK could send three MPs each, given their current strength in the Assembly.
The six vacancies are due to the retirement of four AIADMK MPs: V Maitreyan, R Lakshmanan, KR Arjunan and T Rathinavel, and one each from the DMK and CPI. DMK’s Kanimozhi has been elected to the Lok Sabha while the term of CPI’s D Raja has come to an end.
The MDMK is likely to field its general secretary Vaiko who had been a Rajya Sabha MP of the DMK for three consecutive terms from 1978. After quitting the DMK, he launched the MDMK in 1994 and was elected to the Lok Sabha twice in 1998 and 1999.
According to MDMK deputy general secretary Mallai Sathya, Vaiko should be made as RS MP.
“We are for Vaiko’s re-entry into the Rajya Sabha. He is known for his parliamentary skills since the days of Indira Gandhi. So, he should return to the Upper House to be the voice of Tamil Nadu,” he said.
Since a court case is pending against Vaiko, the district secretaries’ meeting of the MDMK on Tuesday will take a call on his candidature.
In selecting Wilson and Shanmugham, the DMK leadership has rewarded loyalty and service to the party.
Wilson, a senior advocate, has been in the forefront of the DMK’s legal battles. He had led the fight in the High Court to secure the burial site on the Marina sea front for DMK patriarch Karunanidhi when the state government had rejected it. Shanmugam, a party veteran who had served for long in the LPF, had been a close associate of Karunanidhi.
The AIADMK, which is in a position to send three RS MPs, has not finalised any candidates although there are many claimants from its ranks.
“Besides former Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai and party’s old guards Gokula Indira and Madhusoodanan, many including former MPs like Anwar Raajhaa are in the race,” said an AIADMK member.
In the AIADMK, there is a clamour for Muslim representation so that the party could take control of the state Wakf Board as the chairman post has been lying vacant. The Board has 12 members and as of now, the DMK and its allies, including the IUML have close to half of its strength.