Veteran CPI leader D Raja will contest the Rajya Sabha elections from Tamil Nadu,where he is fighting against DMK president M Karunanidhis daughter,Kanimozhi,for the last of the six seats that are going to polls on June 27.
The terms of both these leaders have just ended. And both do not have the numbers to be assured of victory.
Raja,the national council secretary of CPI,was nominated by the central executive committee of the party,and the state executive that met here on Sunday seconded the choice,said general secretary S Sudhakar Reddy. For Raja,the path to endorsement was not easy,as he was running against the powerful state secretary,D Pandian,who,however,vehemently denied that he was a candidate during a press conference on Sunday.
With only eight MLAs in the Assembly 34 is the required number to win a RS seat from Tamil Nadu the party had hoped that the ruling AIADMK (151 including the Speaker) would offer the leftover votes after filling up four of the six seats. Reports suggested that its chief J Jayalalithaa was not averse to the idea,but was interested in Pandian as the candidate.
Before the confusion within the party could be cleared,Jaya announced her list of candidates,which included a fifth one. Senior CPI leaders called on her while the Chief Minister was in Delhi to attend a meeting,but she expressed her inability to help since the party had decided to field five candidates.
Jayas emissaries have began reaching out to the smaller outfits which won under its leadership.
Along with the CPM,which has pledged its 10 votes,the CPI has 18,still 16 short of victory. Reddy said the party was pinning its hope on those who have votes but are not contesting. In that category belongs the Congress (5),PMK (3),Puthiya Thamizhagam (2),MMK (2). Pandian has sent a letter to Jaya requesting her support for the CPI candidate.
Against Raja is Kanimozhi,whose party has 23 MLAs,and the likely support of the Congress. But there still remains a gap of six.
The only party that can decide the fate of these two candidates is the DMDK. The rebellion within the ranks that eroded seven out of 29 MLAs virtually ended its hopes of putting up a candidate. Worse,its leader Vijayakant had a bitter feud with Jaya. Vijaykant sent his MLA to collect a nomination form on Saturday,adding to the confusion. There were reports on Sunday that the DMK had managed to win over the DMDKs support,which were rebuffed by the partys TV channel,Captain News,claiming that its candidate had the Congress support.
Monday is the last date for submitting nominations.