A.B. Bardhan likely to meet Jayalalithaa seeking support for D. Raja
In a situation where only the ruling AIADMK has the numbers to send its nominees to the Rajya Sabha, CPI leader A.B. Bardhan is seeking an appointment with Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to try and get her support for his party candidate.
The meeting is likely to take place on May 20 and this could be a beginning of a political realignment in Tamil Nadu.
V. Maitreyan and A. Elavarasan (AIADMK), Kanimozhi and Tiruchi N. Siva (DMK), B.S. Gnanadesikan (Congress) and D. Raja of the CPI are now retiring after a six-year term, and the seats are up for grabs.
Mr. Raja and Dr. Maitreyan emerged as the face of their parties in Delhi.
A candidate needs 34 votes to find his or her way to the Upper House. In such a situation, the ruling AIADMK, with a strength of 151 members [including the Speaker] in the Assembly, can send as many as four to the Upper House, but no other party in the State has the numbers required to get their candidates elected on their own.
Inevitably, intense jockeying has begun for the remaining two seats at stake.
Mr. Bardhan is expected to solicit her party’s surplus votes for D. Raja who could seek re-election.
The Left parties together have 18 seats — CPI (M) 10 and the CPI 8 — in the Tamil Nadu Assembly. Sources in the Left said that CPI (M) general secretary Prakash Karat had committed his party’s support to the CPI candidate and the CPI candidate’s fate was in the hands of Chief Minister Jayalalithaa.
“Since Ms. Jayalalithaa is talking about creating a non-Congress and non-BJP front, we could work together. When he meets her, Mr. Bardhan is likely to ask for her support in the RS polls,” said a senior CPI leader.
If the deal works out, the AIADMK-CPI combine will win five seats. But it is not clear whether Dr. Maitreyan, who has completed two terms, would get yet another chance. A point in his favour could be that his first term in the Rajya Saba lasted only two and a half years.
While the two DMK MPs are retiring, it can, at best, hope to get only one re-elected, but only with the support of some other party.
The party has 23 members in the Assembly and is sending feelers to various camps including the main opposition in the Assembly Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) which has 29 members. But five DMDK members are functioning as a pro-AIADMK bloc in the Assembly.
The two parties could come to an agreement whereby the DMDK will support the DMK candidate now and, in turn, the DMK will accommodate the other in its front in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
If any such agreement materialises, DMK patriarch M. Karunanidhi’s daughter Ms. Kanimozhi could be fielded again, it is said.
If Jayalalithaa agrees to support the CPI which is backed by the CPI (M), the Left would remain with her despite the recent disenchantment of the CPI (M) with the AIADMK.
And if the DMK and the DMDK strike a deal, that could be a precursor to the next year’s Lok Sabha polls.