CHENNAI : After facing a host of challenges for the past 10 months, T T V Dhinakaran, nephew of jailed AIADMK leader V K Sasikala, scored his first victory in the RK Nagar by-election. In the end it appeared like a fraternal fight as he defeated AIADMK veteran E Madhusudanan by a margin of 40,707 votes. Dhinakaran polled 50.32 per cent of total valid votes. The victory was all the more creditable because he stood as an Independent with a new symbol. His supporters claimed many office-bearers in the ruling party would cross over to the Dhinakaran camp soon.
“The people of RK Nagar, who elected late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa in the past, have now declared that Dhinakaran alone can safeguard the AIADMK. The office-bearers of the party will be moving towards Dhinakaran, a charismatic leader. While it is a recognition from the people, it is also a reflection of their anger against the Central and State governments,” Nanjil Sampath, key supporter of Dhinakaran, told Express. Actor Senthil, another supporter of Dhinakaran, said, “After this victory, the leaders of the ruling party should not any more claim that they have the support of 1.5 crore cadre of the party.”
Since the ruling faction of the AIADMK, led by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, on April 17 declared that the Sasikala clan would be kept away from the affairs of the party and government, Dhinakaran built his own faction within the party. On April 25, he was arrested on charges of attempting to bribe officials of the Election Commission for getting the Two Leaves symbol. He was imprisoned for 45 days. After the merger of the factions led by Palaniswami and Panneerselvam on August 21, Dhinakaran was expelled from the party, saying his appointment as deputy general secretary was violative of party bylaws.
Last month, the IT department conducted massive raids on the residences of the relatives of Sasikala across the State to ferret out information about shell companies run by the clan. “The present government in Tamil Nadu will not be there within two or three months. The people of RK Nagar has given their mandate to me for ensuring this,” Dhinakaran told mediapersons in RK Nagar even as the counting was going on.
Though Dhinakaran did not say anything about his next move, sources said he would take it to the next level once the verdict on the disqualification of 18 MLAs was out. As of now, the supporters of Dhinakaran expect some office-bearers from the ruling party to return to their camp.
‘Loser EC, not DMK’
Attempting to hide his disappointment, DMK working president M K Stalin said the real loser was not DMK but the Election Commission, which remained a mute spectator to violations of poll norms
“Poll observers came and went away. That’s all. The EC, police and poll officials in RK Nagar were quietly watching the flow of money in hawala mode even on the day of polling. It will be relevant to say the loser is ECI, not the DMK candidate,” he said
Saying that currency notes have won the polls, Stalin said the 24,651 votes polled by Marudhu Ganesh indicated that the voters have still an unwavering trust in democratic elections