The State unit of the CPI is in a quandary over announcing its candidate for the Rajya Sabha polls as the party has not yet got a commitment of support from AIADMK general secretary and Chief Minister Jayalalithaa.

Ms. Jayalalithaa is yet to respond to the request by the party for an appointment before June 8, as the executive meeting of the AIADMK falls on that day. 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 more votes to elect its candidate.

The seat falls vacant as the tenure of the party’s national council secretary, D. Raja, comes to an end. While there is widespread expectation that Mr. Raja, who had emerged as the party’s face in Delhi, will get a re-nomination, the party’s state secretary, D. Pandian, is also eyeing the seat. He is, therefore, banking on his proximity to the Chief Minister to get a nomination.

When the party’s state executive met on May 31, discussions included the meeting between Mr. Pandian and two senior AIADMK ministers.

“We were told that the AIADMK leadership is keen on sending him to the Rajya Sabha now so that he will be free and available for State-wide campaigning during the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls next year. We felt that the right to choose the candidate should be with us, but we have to also take into consideration the fact that we don’t have adequate numbers,” said a senior party leader.

Finding itself in a piquant situation, the CPI leadership has decided to wait for sometime before finalising the candidate.

“As of now, we need a commitment from the Chief Minister. A final decision will be taken only after our national leaders get an appointment with her,” said another leader and State executive committee member.

In the DMK camp, too, uncertainty prevails over fielding a candidate as the party has not achieved any breakthrough in efforts to get the support of Desiya Murpokku Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMDK) leader Vijayakant, whose party is also going through a crisis.

The DMDK has 29 members in the Assembly, but already six of them have switched their loyalty to the ruling party. Though the six members continue to have the DMDK tag, the party leadership cannot prevent them from voting for any rival candidate, as no whip can be issued for the Rajya Sabha election.

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