A day after he was sentenced to one-year imprisonment in a sedition case, Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) general secretary Vaiko submitted his nomination for Rajya Sabha polls Saturday in the presence of DMK leader MK Stalin. Vaiko has served as a Rajya Sabha MP for 18 years, between 1978 and 1996. If elected, Vaiko will return to Parliament after a gap of 23 years.
On Friday, a special court in Chennai sentenced the MDMK chief to one-year imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 in a sedition case filed in 2010. Ironically, the case was filed during the regime of former TN Chief Minister M.Karunanidhi with whose party Vaiko has partnered now.
According to the prosecution, during the launch of his book, ‘Kuttram Sattugiren’ (I Accuse), on July 15, 2009, Vaiko made a speech condemning the Indian government for the killings of Tamils in Sri Lanka. He further backed the LTTE and accused the Indian government of lending its support to then Mahinda Rajapaksa-led Sri Lankan government. Following this, a case was filed at the Thousand Lights in Chennai against Vaiko under sections 124 A (sedition) and 153 (A) (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language) of the IPC.
Despite the judgment going against him, Vaiko remained unshaken. “Today is the happiest day of my life. I never asked for a lenient judgment, unless there are poison and venom in the mind of a judge, no judge can make such a false claim about me. When Thanthai Periyar was sentenced for three years for protesting against Hindi imposition in 1938, he asked the judges to give him the maximum punishment, similarly, I asked the judges to give me the maximum punishment, life sentence or anything. I am a follower of Periyar. If my speech supporting LTTE is considered sedition, I will continue to do that,” he said. Vaiko has been given one month‘s time to appeal against the sentence before an appellate court.
The elections to Rajya Sabha seats from Tamil Nadu will take place on July 18 as the term of six Rajyasabha members T Rathinavelu, Maitreyan, K R Arjunan, R Lakshmanan, D Raja, and M Kanimozhi expires on July 24. On July 1, DMK nominated two of its party members M Shanmugam and B Wilson for the Rajya Sabha Polls Similarly, the ruling AIADMK party has nominated A Mohammad John and N Chandrashekaran as their candidates for the Rajya Sabha polls. As part of the electoral arrangement, DMK allocated one RS seat to MDMK and AIADMK has allocated one seat to its ally PMK. The last date of filing the nomination is July 8 and the counting will take place on July 18.