MDMK Chief V Gopalasamy or Vaiko, one of the is all set to return to parliament after 15 years. His party today nominated him as its candidate for upcoming elections to the Rajya Sabha.
Though the MDMK has no legislators to elect a Rajya Sabha member, it was offered one seat by the DMK as part of their alliance deal for the Lok Sabha polls in which the DMK swept the polls, winning 37 of the 38 seats in Tamil Nadu.
A three-time Rajya Sabha member at the time he was with the DMK, Mr Vaiko was elected twice from Sivakasi. His last tenure was from 1999 to 2004.
Mr Vaiko, an advocate and a powerful speaker in English and Tamil, was arrested by the J Jayalalithaa-led AIADMK government in 2002 under the anti-terror Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) for a controversial speech in support of the banned LTTE. He spent close to a year in the Vellore prison. In 2014, the case against him was withdrawn.
Mr Vaiko had a blow hot, blow cold relationship with the DMK after he quit the party in 1993. He had also tied up with Jayalalithaa.
His push for a third front in the 2016 Tamil Nadu polls, with actor Vijayakanth as chief ministerial candidate, ended in disaster with the alliance not winning a single seat in the 234 member state assembly.
Mr Vaiko has also championed the cause of people against the Sterlite Copper Smelting plant. His persistent legal battle, along with that of others on environmental and pollution issues, led to the plant closing in 2010.
Six Rajya Sabha seats will fall vacant this month. The DMK, which has enough numbers to elect three MPs, has already named Shanmugam, a veteran trade union leader, and P Wilson, former Advocate General of Tamil Nadu. The AIADMK is yet to name its nominees.
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