Kanimozhi gets Cong support in RS bid, signals thaw in ties

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Chennai, June 26: Three months after divorce of sorts, DMK and Congress are joining hands to help DMK's Rajya Sabha candidate and party chief M Karunanidhi's daughter MK Kanimozhi to win second term in Upper House.

The Rajya Sabha elections are slated for tomorrow and the Congress decided yesterday to support Kanimozhi as DMK has only 23 MLAs and 34 votes are required to win a seat.

To thank the Congress for its gesture or say political game, Kanimozhi visited the state Congress office in Chennai today. She presented shawls to Tamil Nadu Congress Chief Gnanadesikan and his team of five MLAs who have assured to support her.

Kanimozhi's party had quit the Congress-led Central government three months ago, alleging that the party did little to ensure UN action against Sri Lanka for alleged human rights violations against Lankan Tamils, the Congress yesterday assured its support to the DMK.

Though Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam and Puthiya Tamizhagam had extended support of their two MLAs each, the Congress' support was crucial.

The polling is for six Rajya Sabha seats from Tamil Nadu. and Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa's AIADMK and the Left (CPI's D Raja) together have enough numbers to win five seats.

It was the sixth seat that is seeing a bitter fight between Kanimozhi and actor Vijayakanth's DMDK's AR Ilangovan. Though DMDK has 29 MLAs, seven of them have rebelled and aligned with ruling AIADMK. This makes DMDK's win uncertain.

"I came to thank the Congress for their support," Kanimozhi said today. On revival of ties, she said, "you are asking the wrong person." But, today's gesture has triggered speculation that the Congress and the DMK could revive ties before the Lok Sabha polls due next year.

Papa thanks Sonia

Meanwhile, Karunanidhi has thanked Congress president Sonia Gandhi for supporting his daughter Kanimozhi in the Rajya Sabha elections. "I would like to thank you and the Congress party on behalf of the DMK and myself for supporting our candidate Kanimozhi in the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections," the DMK chief said in a message sent to Sonia Gandhi.

How the voting will go?

Tamil Nadu Assembly will witness polling for RS seats for the first time after a gap of 17 years. Few earlier elections have been without contest as parties fielded candidates according to their ability to elect Rajya Sabha member. But this elections seems to be different.

Each winning candidate has to muster 34 first preference votes to be declared elected.

With the three-member PMK deciding to abstain from voting, the winning margin is expected to come down to 33 votes.

AIADMK has 151 MLAs and seven DMDK rebels, who won their voting rights through a ruling by the Madras High Court, have openly declared support to the ruling dispensation, raising its strength to 158.

If AIADMK allocates 34 first preference votes to each of its four candidates, it will be left with 15 surplus votes. Left parties - CPI, CPM and Forward Bloc - combine have 19 votes and AIADMK assuring its surplus 15 votes, CPI's D Raja will have no difficulty in coasting to victory.

DMK has 23 MLAs and has already garnered support of two-member PT and five-member Congress to Kanimozhi and is now assured of 32 votes and needs at least two more for victory.

DMDK with 29-members as of now is assured of support of only 22 of its MLAs, as seven rebels have made known their stand to back AIADMK, making chances of the victory of Elangovan bleak.

The candidates are AIADMK's K R Arjunan, V Maithreyan, T Rathnavel, R Lakshmanan, CPI's Raja, DMK's Kanimozhi and DMDK's Elangovan.

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