With 29 seats in the Assembly, the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) led by Vijayakant is in a position to help another party, especially the DMK, send a candidate to the Rajya Sabha.
However, the actor-turned-politician, setting his sights on the next Assembly elections, is not keen on supporting any party in the biennial election to the Upper House of Parliament, which are due to be held to fill six seats that will fall vacant on July 24.
Nor is it clear if he will seek the DMK’s support for his own party’s candidate.
DMDK sources said Mr. Vijayakant had not made up his mind and had little inclination towards supporting anyone. “He feels it will be a sort of commitment and bind his party to one alliance or other, first in the coming Lok Sabha polls and then in the Assembly elections. He wants to overcome the image that the DMDK is a middle-level player which cannot seek to expand its base beyond a point,” said a senior party leader.
A candidate requires 34 votes in the 234-member Assembly to be elected to the Rajya Sabha.
Of the 29 members, five legislators have defied the leadership and are functioning as AIADMK loyalists in the Assembly. Further, six members have been suspended by Assembly Speaker P. Dhanapal for six months and it is not clear if they can vote in the Rajya Sabha polls.
The DMK has 23 members in the Assembly. The terms of Kanimozhi and Tiruchi N Siva are coming to an end. The DMK can nominate its candidate only if the DMDK comes forward to support it. In return, Mr. Vijayakant can expect the DMK’s support to send his nominee to the Rajya Sabha next year, when six more seats will fall vacant.
Besides the two DMK members, the tenure of two AIADMK MPs and one each of the Congress and the CPI each will come to an end next month.
With 150 members in the current Assembly, the ruling AIADMK can win four seats hands down and will still have votes to spare. It is the votes of these MLAs that the CPI is counting on. Former CPI general secretary A.B. Bardhan is expected to arrive in Chennai on Monday to seek the support of AIADMK leader and Chief Minister Jayalalithaa. The party has eight MLAs in Tamil Nadu and is likely to re-nominate D. Raja, its national secretary, for a Rajya Sabha seat.
Though CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat had committed his party’s support to the CPI, the strain in the relationship between the two parties is a cause of concern. The CPI (M) has 10 MLAs. Speaking in Hyderabad on Saturday, Mr Bardhan accused the CPI (M) of speaking “half truths” about his party and functioning with an “upper caste bias.”