Tamil Nadu

Lobbying under way in AIADMK for two Rajya Sabha seats

Lobbying has begun among senior leaders of the AIADMK for getting nominated to two Rajya Sabha seats that the party hopes to bag in the biennial elections, slated for next month.

Six seats of Tamil Nadu in the Upper House are falling vacant on June 29, including three each belonging to the ruling DMK and the AIADMK.  The retiring members of the principal Opposition party are S.R. Balasubramoniyan, A. Navaneethakrishnan and A. Vijayakumar.  At the time of the elections in 2016, the party had a fourth representative, R. Vaithilingam, who quit the post last year following his election to the Assembly. His place has now gone to K.R.N. Rajeshkumar of the DMK. 

A senior leader of the AIADMK, who is among the aspirants, says approximately 60 persons have requested party coordinator O. Panneerselvam and co-coordinator Edappadi K. Palaniswami to give them an opportunity to become members of the Upper House. There is a feeling in the party that the two leaders would distribute the two seats to one of their nominees each.

Among the names doing the rounds in party circles are former Ministers S. Semmalai, D. Jayakumar, C.Ve. Shanmugam, B. Valarmathi and Gokula Indira; member of the steering committee, deputy secretary of the AIADMK minorities’ wing and former Villivakkam legislator J.C.D. Prabhakar; spokesperson and former legislator from the now-abolished Coimbatore West constituency K. Selvaraj;  former Parliamentary party leader and Tiruvallur MP P. Venugopal; and Theni district secretary S.P. M. Syed Khan. 

A section of party functionaries feels younger candidates should also be given an opportunity.

Mr. Jayakumar, who belongs to the fishermen community,  has been the most visible spokesperson of the party. Mr. Shanmugam, a Vanniyar, is among the vocal leaders of the party. Mr. Semmalai, another Vanniyar, was said to have been assured by Mr. Palaniswami last year that he would be accommodated, as he was not given a ticket in the Assembly election. Ms. Gokula Indira had served as a member of the Rajya Sabha once (2001-07), and had been seeking a seat for the last three years. 

After his victory in Villivakkam in 1980 and 2011, Mr. Prabhakar was fielded against M.K. Stalin in Kolathur in 2016, even though it was well-known that the chances of his victory were very low. Last year, the AIADMK saw a washout in Chennai, even though Mr. Prabhakar returned to Villivakkam. The case of Dr. Venugopal has to be viewed against the backdrop of the AIADMK not having nominated very many SCs, especially from the segment of Adi Dravidars, to the Rajya Sabha, and the perception of the DMK steadily eroding the AIADMK’s base among Adi Dravidars. Currently, the party has one MP from SCs - N. Chandrasegharan - who is from the Arunthathiyar segment.  

As the Presidential election is due in July, the aspirants are eagerly awaiting the notification of the Election Commission, which is expected to be issued at the end of this month, if past practices are an indication. 

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Printable version | Jun 20, 2022 11:28:36 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/lobbying-under-way-in-aiadmk-for-two-rajya-sabha-seats/article65379404.ece