DMK fields two RS candidates, keeps Congress waiting

Sources in the Congress said the DMK had agreed to consider the party’s request for a Rajya Sabha seat while finalising the seat-sharing deal for the Assembly elections earlier this year.

The DMK on Tuesday announced the party’s two candidates for the forthcoming Rajya Sabha bye-elections to fill the two vacant seats from Tamil Nadu contrary to expectation in some Congress quarters that the regional party may give one seat to ally Congress.

Sources in the Congress said the DMK had agreed to consider the party’s request for a Rajya Sabha seat while finalising the seat-sharing deal for the Assembly elections earlier this year. They said the DMK assurance had come after the Congress agreed to settle for 25 Assembly seats.

While it is not known what prompted the DMK not to cede a seat to the Congress, the move has triggered a guessing game in the grand old party. And it has upset some of the party’s G 23 leaders, which could deepen the mistrust between the grouping and the leadership.

Sources said the G 23 leaders believe DMK supremo and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin was agreeable to giving the seat to former Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, given the latter’s warm personal relations with late DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi.

A Congress leader said Stalin was keen to give the seat to Azad but the Congress leadership wanted it for Praveen Chakravarty, the head of the Congress’s Data Analytics Department. According to the leader, there was no response from the DMK to the Congress’s suggestion.

On Tuesday, Stalin announced the party’s two candidates – Kanimozhi N V N Somu and K R N Rajeshkumar. Kanimozhi is the daughter of late Union minister N V N Somu. Rajeshkumar is DMK’s Namakkal (East) district in charge.

Both Azad and Chakravarty could not be reached for a response.

A Congress leader said the DMK perhaps has decided to give the Rajya Sabha seat to the Congress in June next year when five seats from the state will fall vacant due to retirement of members since the Congress leadership was not warm to the idea of giving the seat to Azad.

The leader said the Congress leadership perhaps wants the seat to be given to senior leader P Chidambaram, who retires in July next year. Chidambaram is currently a member from Maharashtra.

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