The Election Commission of India has announced elections to the six Rajya Sabha seats representing Tamil Nadu that will be vacated by the end of July. The biennial elections will be held on July 18.
AIADMK MPs T Rathinavel, V Maitreyan, KR Arjunan and R Lakshmanan will be retiring from their six-year term on July 24 along with D Raja of the CPI. DMK’s Kanimozhi was elected to the Lok Sabha from the Thoothukudi parliamentary constituency in the recently-held General Elections and her seat too is up for polls.
According to a press release by the ECI, notifications for the poll, which will see legislators of the states and union territories voting, will be issued on July 1. Nominations are to be filed by July 8. While nominations will be scrutinised on July 9, the last date for withdrawal of nominations is July 11. Polls will be held on Thursday, July 18, between 9 am and 4 pm. Counting will take place on the same day at 5 pm.
At present, the strength of the Tamil Nadu Assembly— which forms the electorate for the indirect Rajya Sabha polls— is 232. The ruling AIADMK has 123 MLAs while the DMK and its allies have 108 MLAs in the House. Given the numbers, it is expected that the DMK will send upto three members to the Upper House. Reports have suggested that Congress has sought the help of its ally to elect former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to the Rajya Sabha. However, the DMK has promised one of three seats to Vaiko of the MDMK with two reportedly being reserved for its own party. DMK sources say that Manmohan Singh will not be a Rajya Sabha candidate from Tamil Nadu.
In the AIADMK camp, on the other hand, the party has promised former Union Minister Anbumani Ramadoss one seat as per the pre-poll alliance with PMK. It has been reported that the AIADMK's national ally, the BJP, has pressured the party to give up one Rajya Sabha seat. Barring the four retiring MPs, the AIADMK currently has eight Rajya Sabha MPs and one Lok Sabha MP— OP Raveendranath Kumar (son of Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam).