DMK President M Karunanidhis daughter Kanimozhi was re-elected to the Rajya Sabha for a second consecutive term on Thursday,defeating A R Elangovan of the DMDK 31-22 in a contest that was harder than the numbers show.
While she filled the sixth spot,the five other vacancies were won by the ruling front: V Maitreyan,K R Arjunan,R Lakshmanan and T Rathinavel of the AIADMK,and the Left candidate,CPI national secretary D Raja,who was backed by the AIADMK.
With AIADMK and allies having enough numbers to send their candidates home,the only contest on Thursday was between Kanimozhi and Elangovan. Neither had the numbers she had 23 MLAs,while he had 22 at the time of nomination. The DMK could ill-afford a defeat,despite being reduced to third position in the Assembly after DMDK,especially since the candidate was the chiefs daughter. But it showed that the setback of 2011 apart,it still has enough gravity in state politics to attract allies.
With only five MLAs in this House,the Congresss interest in the election was purely indirect. But by giving false hope to DMDK,it sparked the contest that preceded the polling on Thursday.
While the DMDK merely reached out to the Congress,the DMK lobbied hard with its former ally through various channels. That they separated only months ago on the Sri Lankan Tamil issue did not stop politics of pragmatism.
By then,the DMK had won over two from the rival camp. Dalit outfit Puthiya Thamizhagam and Islamist Manithaneya Makkal Katchi contested in alliance with the AIADMK last election and won from two seats each. Initially,Jayalalithaas emissaries held discussions with these two when they fielded five candidates. But when she dropped one candidate and supported Raja instead,these four votes became insignificant to the ruling front.
They were soon won over by a team led by DMK heir and Kanimozhis half-brother,MK Stalin apparently for an agreement where the PT and MMK would get a Lok Sabha seat of their choice in the coming general elections.
The DMK had pinned its hopes on PMK support as well,having worked through backchannels. But the PMK,stung by the charge of being a turncoat,asked its three MLAs to boycott the elections.
In the end,as results were declared in the evening,Kanimozhi won with 31 votes one MLA managed to invalidate the vote. Senior leaders Duraimurugan and K Ponmudi objected the invalidation,but were overruled.
Speaking to the media after being declared elected,Kanimozhi thanked Congress party and its leader Sonia Gandhi,and PT and MMK for supporting her,and credited Karunanidhi and Stalin for working hard for her victory.
As DMDK remained friendless,Elangovan received only the 22 votes that his party polled. The seven rebels who have been functioning as per Jayas command collected the ballot,marked their preferences for AIADMK candidates and showed it to DMDK agents as is necessary before depositing it in the box. If their revolt was contained on time,the party would have had 29 MLAs enough to send either its leader Vijayakants wife Premalatha or her brother LK Sudheesh to Rajya Sabha as was the plan.