'Magnanimous' Karunanidhi averts RS poll fight

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Chennai, May 22 (UNI) A showdown between the ruling DMK and the opposition AIADMK to capture the sixth seat in the biennial election to fill six Rajya Sabha seats from Tamil Nadu Assembly has been averted, thanks to the ''seat-sharing'' formula suggested by Chief Minister and DMK President M Karunanidhi.

Contrary to expectations that a keen contest was on the cards for the June 15 elections, there would not be any contest at all as the DMK chief offered to take four seats, leaving two to the AIADMK.

''We don't want to unnecessarily create a contest, which will only pave way for horse trading. We feel there is no need for a contest,'' Mr Karunanidhi told newspersons here.

The ruling DMK and the Opposition could share the six seats without any contest, he said, adding that ''this is my view and I do not know what the Opposition has to say.'' When pointed out that the AIADMK had demanded a neutral Returning Officer in place of Assembly Secretary M Selvaraj, Mr Karunanidhi said there would be no need for this as there would not be any contest.

A keen tussle for the sixth seat was expected as neither the ruling DMK, which along with its allies had a combined strength of 165 members in the 234-member Assembly, nor the Opposition AIADMK, which had 66 seats, including six MDMK members, was in a position to win the seat.

A minimum of 34 votes are required to elect a member to the Upper House and both the AIADMK and the DMK fall short of two members.

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