Chennai: DMK President M Karunanidhi's daughter Kanimozhi was on Thursday reelected to Rajya Sabha with Congress support from Tamil Nadu after a contest with actor Vijayakanth's DMDK candidate. Four AIADMK candidates, including the party leader in Rajya Sabha V Maitreyan and CPI's D Raja, however, registered comfortable wins as expected in the elections for which voting was held for the first time in 17 years.
Forty-five-year-old Kanimozhi, an accused in the 2G scam, sailed through the contest for a second term with 31 votes after five Congress's MLAs voted in her favour along with two votes each from two smaller parties - Puthiya Thamizhagam and Manithaneya Munnetrak Katchi. One vote of the DMK combine is understood to have been held invalid.
The Congress decision came as a surprise against the backdrop of the bitter separation between the two parties after nine years of friendship in the UPA coalition earlier in 2013. CPI leader D Raja, for whom the AIADMK had extended support, won with 34 votes. He has also been reelected for a second term to the Rajya Sabha.
The four AIADMK candidates were elected comfortably. Maitreyan with 36 votes gets a third term with his election while his other party colleagues Ratnavel and Arjunan (36 each) and Lakshmanan (35) are new entrants to the Upper House of Parliament. The DMDK, which has suffered dissidence, lost in the elections when its candidate AR Elangovan got only 22 votes. Seven dissident DMDK MLAs voted for the ruling AIADMK and its supported candidates.
In the 234-member House, a candidate has to get 34 first preference votes. Three MLAs of PMK boycotted the elections. While the four AIADMK candidates and CPI's Raja got elected on the basis of first preference votes, Kanimozhi won on the basis of counting done by elimination method.