Chennai: The stage is set for the battle of ballots in the biennial election to fill up six Rajya Sabha vacancies in Tamil Nadu here on Thursday, an event that will see voting after a 17-year gap.
This year the election also signals the warming up of two former political allies - DMK and Congress - which recently snapped ties.
Congress has pledged support of its six MLAs to DMK supremo Karunanidhi`s daughter Kanimozhi.
DMK had called off its alliance with Congress in March on the Sri Lankan Tamil issue.
Congress` last minute decision to back Kanimozhi, an accused in the 2G Spectrum scam, has virtually brought her near the victory post, which will also ensure her a second successive term in the Upper House.
The party`s backing of Kanimozhi has dimmed the prospects of DMDK nominee A R Elangovan, whose party took the plunge into the electoral battle hoping for support from other parties.
Going by the strength of political parties in the 234-member Assembly, AIADMK led by Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has ensured victory of four of her nominees and with the ruling party pledging its surplus votes, CPI leader D Raja`s re-election is a certainty.
AIADMK has 151 MLAs and seven DMDK rebels, who won their voting rights through a ruling by the Madras High Court, have openly declared support to the ruling dispensation, raising its strength to 158.
Each winning candidate has to muster 34 first preference votes to be declared elected. With the three-member PMK deciding to abstain from voting, the winning margin is expected to come down to 33 votes.
Even assuming AIADMK allocates 34 first preference votes to each of its four candidates, it will still be left with 15 surplus votes.
Left parties - CPI, CPM and Forward Bloc - combine have 19 votes and AIADMK assuring its surplus 15 votes, Raja will have no difficulty in coasting to victory.
DMK has 23 MLAs and has already garnered support of two-member PT and five-member Congress to Kanimozhi and is now assured of 32 votes and needs at least two more for victory.
DMDK with 29-members as of now is assured of support of only 22 of its MLAs, as seven rebels have made known their stand to back AIADMK, making chances of the victory of Elangovasn bleak.