Seven candidates are in the fray for six seats

The State will witness a contest in the Rajya Sabha elections after a gap of 17 years. As the deadline for withdrawal of nomination papers came to an end at 3 p.m. on Thursday, the poll authorities announced that there were seven candidates in the fray for six seats.

The candidates are: K.R. Arjunan, R. Lakshmanan, V. Maitreyan and T. Rathinavel, all belonging to the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK); Kanimozhi of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK); D. Raja of the Communist Party of India (CPI) and A. R. Elangovan of the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK).

A press release issued by Returning Officer and Assembly Secretary A.M.P. Jamaludeen stated that poll would take place on June 27 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. The results would be announced around 5 p.m. the same day.

Dr. Maitreyan, Mr. Raja and Ms. Kanimozhi are sitting MPs.

Though the AIADMK general secretary and Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa, last week named party’s farmers’ wing secretary and former MLA K. Thangamuthu as the fifth candidate, early this week, she announced that her party’s parliamentary board had decided to withdraw Mr. Thangamuthu in response to the CPI’s request.

In February 1996, the State saw a contest when Peter Alphonse of Congress was elected to the Rajya Sabha. As witnessed now, there were seven candidates, including the AIADMK’s five and the rebel Congress group’s nominee – M. Udayabhanu. Finally, all the five nominees of the AIADMK won.

In the last 30 years, the polls saw two stalwarts losing the battle.

In July 1983, P. Ramamurthi of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) lost to G.K. Moopanar of the Congress. In that election, Aladi Aruna, who was then in the AIADMK, and Murasoli Maran of the DMK were among the prominent winners. In total, four AIADMK nominees and one each from the DMK and the Congress won.

In March 1984, when Ms. Jayalalithaa was elected to the House of Elders, Arcot N. Veeraswami, DMK’s second candidate and who later became Minister in the DMK government, was defeated.

Four AIADMK members and the DMK’s V. Gopalaswami, now known as Vaiko, were declared winners. For the sixth seat, the Congress’ K.V. Thangkabalu posted victory in the third count with 30 votes.

Mr. Veeraswami could secure 25 votes.

The surprising element was that though Mr Thangkabalu should have secured 34 first preference votes in the first round, consisting of 31 Congress votes and three of the AIADMK, he got only 30 votes, indicating an instance of cross voting apparently done by Congress members.

Mr. Thangkabalu was declared winner after the transfer of second preference votes cast by the DMK and its allies in favour of Mr. Veeraswami, the process of which took two more rounds.

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