Marumalarchi DMK general secretary Vaiko on Saturday filed his nomination for the biennial elections to six Rajya Sabha seats from the Tamil Nadu Assembly.
As Vaiko is contesting with the support of the DMK, its president M K Stalin, treasurer Durai Murugan, MPs Kanimozhi and Dayanidhi Maran were with him when he presented the paper to Assembly Secretary Srinivasan.
Two candidates from the DMK, senior advocate P Wilson and trade union leader M Shanmugham. also filed their papers.
The DMK with its current strength in the Assembly can get three of its candidates elected. It has allotted one of them to Vaiko as part of an understanding when the two parties contested the Lok Sabha polls as allies.
The ruling AIADMK can get three of its candidates elected. It has given one to PMK leader Anbumani Ramadas. For the remaining two , there is a tussle among its leaders. As a result, the party is yet to announce its candidates. Its nominees are expected to file their papers on July 8. Elections, if necessary, will be held on July 18.
Vaiko filed the paper a day after a special court for MPs and MLAs J Shanthi convicted in a 2009 case of sedition and sentenced him to one year jail. She suspended the sentence to enable Vaiko to go in appeal to the Madras High Court.
Vaiko was convicted in a case registered during the DMK reign in 2009 when he made a speech in support of the LTTE and held India guilty of aiding the killing of Tamil civilians in Sri Lanka in the final war.
Reacting to the verdict, Vaiko said the conviction was on a case registered over the Tamil translation of his book in English “I accuse” dealing with the final phase of the ethnic war in Sri Lanka .
He said the book was a reproduction of a representation he made to the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the ongoing war in Sri Lanka and seeking Indian intervention . When the case came up before a sessions court, he pleaded guilty to the charge he spoke about mobilising youths from Tamil Nadu for the conflict in Sri Lanka. Yet, the sessions court threw out the case.
Vaiko said the same book was translated into Tamil and it was released in Chennai on July 15, 2009. In the case came up before the special court for trying cases against MPs and MLAs also he stood by the speech he made and told the judge that if India continued with its present policy of aiding Sri Lanka in the war against Tamils, it would harm its sovereignty and integrity. The judge had guilty him of sedition, he said.
Sec 124 A of the IPC defines sedition as inciting disaffection towards the duly elected Government through speeches, writings and other means. It, however, says disapproval of the Government’s action by itself will not amount to sedition unless it excites hatred, contempt or disaffection.
Vaiko’s conviction came on the eve of his filing of nomination for the Rajya Sabha polls. He has not been barred from filing the papers because sedition is not among various criminal offences included in the Representation of the People Act which will disqualify a sitting member or bar a candidate from contesting upon conviction.
Omission of sedition among the offences is a major lacuna. As recently as on Jan 8 this year, AIADMK Minister P Balakrishna Reddy was disqualified as MLA upon his conviction by sessions court in Hosur in a case of arson and rioting that happened in 1998.