The AIADMK is still undecided on the selection of its candidates for the two Rajya Sabha seats that it will get from the six which are falling vacant in June.
The ruling DMK has announced the names of three out of the four candidates that it can select, its ally Congress, which will get one seat to name its candidate, is also undecided.
As there are two power centres in AIADMK, with former Chief Ministers O. Panneerselvam (OPS) and K. Palaniswami (EPS) calling the shots, the selection of the two candidates will be based on their preferences. However, the party leadership conducted two brainstorming sessions for the selection of Rajya Sabha candidates unlike the period of late M.G. Ramachandran and J. Jayalalithaa who used to decide candidates on their own.
According to sources in the AIADMK, Palaniswami is to choose between either D. Jayakumar or CVe Shanmugham, both his close associates and former cabinet colleagues, Panneerselvam, wants to nominate his close associate and party Theni district president Syed Ahmad Khan.
Even as the two leaders have their own choices, the party’s brainstorming session has brought out some suggestions, including considering one candidate with a legal background. Senior party leaders like D. Valarmathi, who participated in the session, told both OPS and EPS that sending a person with a legal background to the Rajya Sabha would give the party a good standing and pointed out that the DMK has senior lawyers in the Rajya Sabha.
Another aspect, that was discussed, was on preferring a candidate from South Tamil Nadu as the party’s traditional base is in the South. In the 2021 Assembly elections and the recent Urban local body elections, the party had to bite the dust in Southern Tamil Nadu. The powerful Thevar community that has a significant support base in South Tamil Nadu, which was traditionally supporting the AIADMK, had cold-shouldered the party due to the Sasikala issue and Panneerselvam is not getting prominence. It is to be noted that both Sasikala and Panneerselvam are from the Thevar community.
The AIADMK leadership has got a shot in the arm as both the BJP and the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) have announced their support to the AIADMK in the Rajya Sabha elections. In the 2021 Assembly elections and the Urban local body elections of January 2022, the PMK had contested on their own. The BJP while contesting in an alliance with the AIADMK in 2021 Assembly elections had decided to contest on its own in the Urban local body polls.
While the PMK has 5 MLAs in the state Assembly, the BJP has four MLAs.