Chennai: The Rajya Sabha elections in Tamil Nadu, scheduled for next month, are forging new alliances and testing old ones.
Seven candidates are now competing for the six seats that will go up for grabs on July 27.
The ruling party, the AIADMK, had originally announced it would contest all six seats. However, the party has now withdrawn one candidate in a surprise agreement with the CPI, whose D Raja wants a new term.
By itself, the CPI does not have the numbers to get Mr Raja elected.
The DMK, headed by M Karunanidhi, finds itself struggling for partners to get M Kanimozhi, the 45-year-old daughter of its president, re-elected. Her term expires next month.
The party had been hoping to win the support of legislators from the DMDK, headed by actor-politician Vijayakanth, which today fielded its own candidate.
The Congress can offer five state legislators but it is seen as an unpalatable ally by most parties in the state because of the perception that the Centre led by it had not taken a strong enough stand against Sri Lanka's alleged war crimes at the United Nations session in Geneva earlier this year.
The math in the Rajya Sabha elections has parties worried about horse-trading. The emerging voting pattern in these elections could also indicate the political re-alignment in Tamil Nadu for the national elections due by May.