With the 2019 Lok Sabha elections less than six months away, sources close to Member of Parliament and DMK leader Kanimozhi tell The News Minute that the leader may not seek re-election at the Rajya Sabha. It appears that the leader is contemplating on contesting the Lok Sabha elections next year.
Even as Kanimozhi is due to complete her Rajya Sabha term in July 2019, speculation was rife on whether the leader would be seeking re-election. With MK Stalin’s elevation as President of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam in August this year following the death of his father and former Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, Kanimozhi’s role in the party was being intensely scrutinized.
While Kanimozhi has been in active politics for over a decade now, the 50-year-old leader has never faced direct elections. In 2007, she was elected to the upper house for the first time during the Indian National Congress-led United Progressive Alliance. She was re-elected in 2013, after her return from prison in 2011 in the 2G spectrum case.
A DMK leader told TNM that for Kanimozhi to move up in the party's ranks and also to be a part of government, it was inevitable that she entered electoral politics.
With six Rajya Sabha seats in Tamil Nadu up for re-election by July, there was speculation earlier that Congress may ask DMK for Kanimozhi's seat. The Congress, reportedly wanted a safe seat from which former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh could contest from. The DMK has however rejected this speculation, for now.
Though the speculation is that Kanimozhi could contest from a seat with a considerable Nadar population (her mother Rajathi Ammal belongs to the community), speaking to TNM, senior journalist Kavin Malar reckons that Kanimozhi can also choose a constituency with a high population of marginalised communities.
“Her vote bank is minorities and marginalised communities. She is new to direct elections. But she is not out of touch and continues to work on issues. During the DMK tenure, she helped create the Transgender Welfare Board. She has been supportive of LGBT communities as well. She is popular among marginalised communities, particularly LGBT and Dalits. More than a politician, she is an intellectual,” she says.
Since her supporters are scattered across Tamil Nadu, Kavin believes, Kanimozhi may contest in an area where her father has been popular and where the allied parties too are strong.
Kanimozhi has also been active in the literary circles as well as serving in the capacity of the DMK’s Women’s Wing Secretary.
Kanimozhi was elected to the Rajya Sabha in 2007 with her father’s blessing after a fallout with the Maran family. Dayanidhi Maran who was previously the Delhi point man for the party was replaced with Kanimozhi. With her acquittal in the 2G scam in December 2017, she has projected a heightened public profile.
Of the DMK Rajya Sabha MPs serving along with her RS Bharathi and TKS Elangovan are due to complete their terms in June 2022 while Trichy Siva is set to end his term in 2020.