RK Nagar bypoll: Dhinakaran splurge to induce voters in April gives him good recall value

Both AIADMK and DMK have already started campaigning in full swing for the RK Nagar by-election scheduled for December 21, but guess which candidate has the highest recall value there? It’s TTV Dhinak

Published: 08th December 2017 07:06 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th December 2017 08:13 AM   |  A+A-

AIADMK leader TTV Dhinakaran (File | EPS)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: Both AIADMK and DMK have already started campaigning in full swing for the RK Nagar by-election scheduled for December 21, but guess which candidate has the highest recall value there? It’s TTV Dhinakaran, rebel AIADMK leader now, who began his campaign as an independent candidate on Thursday. He was the official AIADMK nominee for the rescinded bypoll to the seat in April last.

The largesse he showered on the electorate — allegedly Rs 4,000 per voter — in the run-up to the April bypoll still rings a bell. While E Madhusudhanan fielded by the AIADMK is seen as a native person by the voters, Marudhu Ganesh, DMK candidate, is relying on the anti-incumbency factor. Yet, it is Dhinakaran who is the talking point among a section of voters.

“One of my relatives’ family with four voters received over Rs10,000 in April. They used the money to pay their children’s school fees. Like us, many in Kamarajar Nagar in Tondiarpet and nearby areas got money, which helped us during school admissions,” said a 55-year-old resident living near the AIADMK office at Tondiarpet, where Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami inaugurated an election campaign office. His vote would go for Dhinakaran if he loosens his purse strings again like he did in April, he reasoned.

The voter sentiment appears to be similar in many parts of the constituency spread over Korukkupettai, covering Hari Narayanapuam, Perumal Koil Garden, Radha Krishna Nagar, Power House area, Ezhil Nagar, Ambedkar Nagar, Anna Nagar, Kamarajar Nagar and a few parts of Tondairpet. It has 2.63 lakh voters.

During initial campaigning, though many voters have not yet made up their mind, voices supporting DMK and AIADMK were heard among voters in the parties’ stronghold areas.

“Unlike general elections, there are no alliances of parties now. There is no clarity in the election. Had Amma (Jayalalithaa) completed her tenure as MLA, many works, including construction of subway at Kannan Road and Hari Narayanapuram, would have been completed. But now, only ‘money’ will decide the election. Many of us are not interested in raising any other issues as it is only a by-election,” said Sankar, an auto-driver of Hari Narayanapuram.

A section of the voters appeared upset with the ruling AIADMK, saying it was being controlled by the BJP. “EPS campaigned for Dhinakaran in April and now he is opposing him. It’s a question of credibility,” said Kasi, a voter at Perumal Koil Street.

Interestingly, the rejection of actor Vishal’s nomination hardly had any impact on a section of voters. A considerable number of Telugu-speaking people who live in RK Nagar and Perumal Garden Colony areas are mostly daily wage labourers. “I don’t know whether the AIADMK had a role in rejecting his nomination. Even if he contests, we will not vote for him. Except DMK and AIADMK, no party or person can get support here,” said 63-year-old Kurilisalaiah.

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