State witnessed interesting episodes during contests

With Tamil Nadu likely to witness a contest in the Rajya Sabha elections ahead, here are some interesting episodes that the State faced in the last 40-odd years. Whenever voting took place in the past, there was no dearth of excitement and surprise.

In March 1970, C. Subramaniam, who contested the Rajya Sabha election as candidate of the Congress led by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, had to face the ignominy of defeat. The poll took place months after the 1969 Congress split, with one group owing allegiance to Indira Gandhi and the other to senior leaders, including S. Nijalingappa, K. Kamaraj and Morarji Desai.  

Subramaniam, CS as he was known, had lost in Gobichettypalayam in the 1967 Lok Sabha election. In the mid-1960s, CS, as Union Agriculture and Food Minister, had played a crucial role in the implementation of Green Revolution and Indira Gandhi was particular that he should return to Parliament at the earliest possible opportunity.

It was under such circumstances that CS had entered the fray even though his party – then called, Ruling Congress - had just eight MLAs in the Assembly.

He had hoped to get support from other parties and even from his erstwhile colleagues, most of whom were part of the other Congress formation - Congress (Organisation).  In the 1967 Assembly elections, the undivided Congress had won 51 seats.  

In the 1970 Rajya Sabha election, three DMK candidates and one nominee each from the Congress (O), Swatantra and the Muslim League romped home. CS eventually managed to get the support of 23 MLAs, but still lost. But, within a year, after the 1971 Lok Sabha elections, CS went back to the Union Cabinet and in the Krishnagiri by-election held in August 1971, he emerged victorious.

Fifteen years later, the State witnessed another interesting fight when T. R. Baalu of the DMK got elected.

In June 1986, Mr Baalu, who was the then Madras District Secretary of the party, surprised everyone by securing 35 votes in the first round even though his party had 22 MLAs. The DMK, at best, had hoped to get 31 votes with the support of its allies – Communist Party of India (Marxist) – five members and the CPI and Muslim League – two each. But, four votes had apparently gone from the AIADMK-Congress front. The loser then was the Janata Party’s Era Sezhiyan, a seasoned parliamentarian, who was also supported by the AIADMK. 

To enable Mr Sezhiyan’s victory, at the eleventh hour, the AIADMK had decided to retire one of its candidates, Anakaputhur Ramalingam, and transfer its extra votes to Mr Sezhiyan. But, the plan did not work. Eventually, the AIADMK won three seats; the Congress – two and the DMK - one.  

Ten years later, in the February 1996 election, the presence of M. Udaya Bhanu, who was part of a rebel Congress group led by Vazhapadi K. Ramamurthy, forced a contest for the sixth seat. However, the official nominee of the Congress, S. Peter Alphonse, coasted to victory by securing 42 votes. Mr Udaya Bhanu was defeated with a tally of 13 votes. The other five seats went to the AIADMK.

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