As per the current strength in the Tamil Nadu assembly both Dravidian parties can nominate three members each to the upper house.
Out of the 55 Rajya Sabha seats across 17 states that will see elections in March, six of them will be from Tamil Nadu, with both the ruling AIADMK and Opposition DMK having the required numbers to nominate three members each. However, the AIADMK’s strength in the Upper House is likely to go down from 11 to 10 and DMK's strength will increase five to seven.
The nomination process begins on March 6 and the last date for filing is March 13. The nominations would be scrutinized on March 16 and the last to withdraw the nominations is March 18. Both AIADMK and DMK can avoid the election on March 26 if they can make an arrangement similar to the one in last July where both the Dravidian parties nominated their Rajya Sabha members unopposed.
According to sources, former Lok Sabha deputy speaker M. Thambi Durai, former TN Minister KP Munusamy, Natham R Viswanathan, S Gokula Indira, and N.R.Sivapathi are the front-runners from the AIADMK camp for a Rajya Sabha seat. As far as DMK is concerned, Tiruchi Siva is likely to be nominated again. Lawyer NR Elango, who was announced as a back-up candidate for Vaiko earlier, is likely to be named as the second candidate. The party is yet to take a call on its third candidate.
Meanwhile, Premaltha Vijayakanth, Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) treasurer, said her party will stick to the coalition dharma, reminding the AIADMK party of their pre-poll promise of allotting one Rajya Sabha seat to them. Ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the AIADMK and the DMK allotted one Rajya Sabha seat each to allies PMK and MDMK as part of a pre-poll alliance.
Speaking to the reporters in Chennai, Premalatha said “This was discussed when we formed the alliance. We have always followed the coalition dharma, we hope that Chief Minister Edappadi K Palanisamy will provide us the Rajya Sabha seat, let’s wait and see,” she said.
However, CM Edappadi Palanisamy said only the party high command will make a final decision on the matter. “The Election Commission has announced the schedule just now, we will think about the nomination. There are many senior leaders in the party, we have to consult them. Everyone has the right to demand, but the party head command alone will make a final decision,” he said.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, DMDK was part of the AIADMK-led NDA alliance. The party contested in four seats, Chennai (North), Kallakurichi, Tiruchirapalli and Virudhunagar and drew a blank.
As per the current strength in the Tamil Nadu assembly, the AIADMK has 124 MLAs and the DMK 100. S.Muthukaruppan, K.Selvaraj and Vijila Sathyanath of AIADMK, Tiruchi Siva of DMK and T.K. Rangarajan of Communist Party of India (Marxist) are the retiring Rajya Sabha members. Sasikala Pushpa, who got elected to the upper house on the AIADMK ticket, later got expelled from the party and joined BJP this February, is also retiring.