Vaiko’s nomination accepted; to enter RS after decades

MDMK chief Vaiko. File photo

MDMK chief Vaiko’s nomination to contest the biennial elections to Rajya Sabha was accepted by the Returning Officer (RO) on Tuesday, paving the way for him to enter the Upper House of Parliament after a gap of 23 years.

There was uncertainty on Vaiko’s candidature over his recent conviction in a sedition case filed by the DMK Government in 2009. Unwilling to take chances, the DMK, which is supporting Vaiko’s candidature, fielded a dummy candidate, N R Elango, on Monday to avoid the seat from going vacant in case the MDMK chief’s nomination was rejected.

As the scrutiny of nomination papers filed by candidates from DMK, AIADMK, PMK and MDMK began on Tuesday, Vaiko’s representative was present before the RO to clarify any doubts. After a few clarifications, the RO declared that Vaiko’s nomination was accepted.

All six candidates – Vaiko, P Wilson, K Shanmugham (both DMK), A Mohammad John, N Chandrashekaran (both AIADMK) and Anbumani Ramadoss (PMK) – are set to be elected to Rajya Sabha unopposed on Thursday, the last day for withdrawal of nominations.  

Life has turned a full circle for Vaiko, known for his fiery speech, as he is set to re-enter Rajya Sabha after a gap of 22 years, courtesy M K Stalin, the very person who was the prime reason for his ouster from the DMK in 1993.

From opposing Stalin’s rising stature and launching his own outfit, Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, swinging like a pendulum between the two Dravidian majors and a short courtship with the Left and other parties that culminated in a failure in 2016, Vaiko finally ended up where he began his political career.

Having realised well that his political fortunes have plunged deep low and his MDMK is no more a major player in Tamil Nadu’s polity, Vaiko buried the decades-long hatchet with Stalin and proposed him as the next Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. On Tuesday, Stalin promised the “return gift” – the DMK was categorical that it would support only Vaiko’s candidature and not that of anyone from his party.

It will be a homecoming for Vaiko when he re-enters Rajya Sabha – he was a member of the Upper House for three consecutive terms from 1978 to 1996 and had also been elected to Lok Sabha in 1998 and 1999. The firebrand speaker shot into limelight after his protests against the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s visit to Tamil Nadu at the height of Emergency in 1976 and was chosen by Karunanidhi as one of DMK’s nominees to the Rajya Sabha in 1978.

Known for his fiery speech and love for Tamil literature, Vaiko drew the attention of the ruling dispensations through his speeches in the Upper House and became a sensation among DMK cadres which irked Karunanidhi who was grooming Stalin to be his political heir. As Vaiko’s stock rose in the party, he was expelled in 1993 and forced to launch his own outfit which was a hit in the beginning but lost full steam in the coming years.

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