Chennai: The BJP has asked its alliance partner the AIADMK to part with a Rajya Sabha seat from its quota in Tamil Nadu where biennial polls to the Upper House of Parliament will be held next month.
It is speculated that the Rajya Sabha seat, if ceded by the AIADMK, would either go to External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar or a BJP leader from Tamil Nadu. If Jaishankar is nominated for the seat, it would help the saffron party ward off criticism that the NDA government’s cabinet has no representation from Tamil Nadu, though two Tamils have found place in it.
Informed sources in the BJP told DH that the national leaders have asked the AIADMK to allot one Rajya Sabha seat to the party.
In the biennial elections, AIADMK and DMK can elect three members each without an election — five AIADMK members are retiring next month while DMK leader Kanimozhi’s tenure has come to an end after her election to the Rajya Sabha. If the BJP is allotted one seat, then the AIADMK might be left with just one as it has promised another berth to PMK as part of the pre-poll alliance. PMK would nominate its leader Anbumani Ramadoss, who lost the Lok Sabha elections, to the Rajya Sabha.
“We have requested one Rajya Sabha seat from the AIADMK. But I am not sure whether it is for Dr Jaishankar. But what is sure is that we expect AIADMK to give us one seat from the three,” a senior state BJP leader told DH.
Even if Jaishankar is not elected from Tamil Nadu, the BJP would still use the seat to get one of its local leaders nominated to the Upper House with an aim to strengthen the party.
The BJP lost all five seats it contested in the Lok Sabha polls and might want to nominate either former Union minister Pon Radhakrishnan or state chief Tamilisai Soundararajan.
The AIADMK has not yet given its nod to the proposal as it fears that the Opposition would renew the attack that the party was playing the second fiddle to the BJP.