AIADMK to support CPI in Rajya Sabha polls

Chennai, June 17 (IANS) In a dramatic turn on the last day of filing of nominations for the June 27 Rajya Sabha polls, AIADMK general secretary J. Jayalalithaa Monday announced her party's support to CPI's candidate and withdrawal of one party candidate.

After much dilly-dallying, the principal opposition party DMDK also entered the poll fray with its candidate A.R. Elangovan filing his nomination.

In a statement issued here, Chief Minister and AIADMK's chief Jayalalithaa, referring to the appeal for support from the CPI leadership, announced her party's support for D. Raja, the sitting Rajya Sabha member.

She also announced that one of the five AIADMK candidates, K. Thangamuthu, would withdraw his nomination.

Prior to the filing of his nomination, Raja, along with CPI's senior leaders, met Jayalalithaa and sought her party's support.

Jayalalithaa who had earlier announced that the party will not be able to support any other party in the Rajya Sabha polls, changed her mind after meeting the CPI delegation.

Raja also has the support of another left party, CPI-M, having eight members in the Tamil Nadu assembly.

The CPI also hopes the Forward Bloc's lone member will vote in favour of Raja.

A total of six Rajya Sabha members from the state, including Raja, would retire next month.

The six members retiring are: A. Elavarasan and V. Maitreyan from the AIADMK, Tiruchi N. Siva and Kanimozhi from the DMK, B.S. Gnanadesikan of the Congress and D. Raja of the Communist Party of India.

The candidates from AIADMK - V. Maitreyan, K.R. Arjunan, T. Rathinavel and R. Lakshmanan - filed their nomination papers Wednesday.

DMK's Kanmozhi filed her nomination papers Saturday.

While the AIADMK has a strength of 151 (including the speaker) in the 235-member house, the DMDK has 29 legislators, the DMK 23, CPI-M 10, CPI 8 and Congress 5.

A candidate needs 34 votes to get elected.

As per the current position, all the four AIADMK candidates and the sole CPI candidate are expected to romp home safely.

The AIADMK is expected to increase its tally in the Rajya Sabha to seven from the current five.

The contest will be for the sixth seat between DMK's Kanimozhi and DMDK's Elangovan.

Kanimozhi's election depends on the support the DMK gets from parties like the Congress and others.

It will be interesting to note the Congress' position - whether it would support Kanimozhi or DMDK's Elangovan.

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