Asked Stalin to keep another RS candidate ready, clarifies Vaiko
DMK lawyer NR Elango had also filed his nominations on Monday morning as a candidate for the Rajya Sabha elections from Tamil Nadu.
Vaiko told a quickly convened press conference that he had asked DMK chief MK Stalin keep another candidate ready in case his candidature was rejected on account of his recent conviction in a 2009 sedition case.
Vaiko was set to return to the Rajya Sabha after two decades, but his election to the Upper House was threatened by his recent conviction in a case of sedition filed by and the DMK government under M Karunanidhi in 2009 for his fiery speech supporting the Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka.
“Days ahead of the verdict, I got in touch with Stalin to tell him to prepare of the eventuality of my candidature getting rejected,” Vaiko told reporters.
Vaiko said his electoral agreement with the DMK had an “unwritten, orally agreed clause” that the Rajya Sabha candidature was reserved for him and not for anyone from the MDMK.
Under the provisions of the Representation of People’s Act, 1951, conviction in several offences such as corruption, crime against women, promoting hatred among classes can disqualify a member of Parliament. But sedition, for which Vaiko was convicted by a special city court in Chennai, does not figure in the list.
“Even though, I am sure my nomination will be accepted, I had requested the DMK leader to have an alternative candidate ready. I wanted to clarify as I do not want MDMK cadres to get agitated because of this," Vaiko said.
Ahead of the Lok Sabha polls in April- May , the DMK stitched together a multi-party alliance comprising also the Congress, minor Dravidian parties and the Communists. The alliance swept all but one seat in the Lok Sabha polls, but it was tested for strength after leaders from the DMK and Congress camps traded barbs over the need to split ways before the forthcoming local body polls. The DMK would like to keep its current alliance intact till the next Assembly elections, and hence keeping partners like Vaiko happy would be crucial.