CHENNAI: AIADMK deputy general secretary and VK Sasikals's nephew TTV Dinakaran is the party’s candidate for by-election in RK Nagar Assembly constituency.
The election is being held to fill the seat that became vacant with the death of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.
Party sources said the decision to field Dinakaran as AIADMK's candidate was taken by the parliamentary board meeting of the party chaired by presidium chairman KA Sengottaiyan, on Wednesday.
Sengottaiyan said this decision was taken with the consent of party general secretary VK Sasikala.
Thanking the AIADMK parliamentary board for choosing him as its candidate, Dinakaran expressed confidence that he would win the by-election by over a margin of 50,000 votes.
He also said that he would file his nomination on February 23.
Asked as to whether he would be projected as the chief minister of the State in future after the RK Nagar by-election, Dinakaran said a firm "no" to such a possibility.
“Edappadi K Palaniswami will continue to be our Chief Minister and I will work for fulfilling the promises made by late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa to the people of RK Nagar.”
Making it clear that the DMK was the only contender against the AIADMK in the by-election, Dinakaran said “MGR has launched the AIADMK to prevent DMK president M Karunanidhi from coming to power. After his demise, Jayalalithaa also tread the path shown by him in opposing the DMK.
As such, the AIADMK will continue to function on the 'anti-DMK' plank.
"We deem DMK our political opponent in the field, and not any other group."
Pointing out that rebel AIADMK leader O Panneerselvam had met the Chief Election Commission today and asked whether Dinakaran was hopeful of getting the ‘two leaves’ symbol for the by-election, he said, “I will contest under the two leaves symbol in the by-election, and in any election in the future too, AIADMK candidates will contest under the two leaves symbol.”
Asked whether the two symbols would be freezed, Dinakaran quipped: "You will see O Panneerselvam frozen after the by-election."
He also said that since February 7, Panneerselvam has been unleashing a propaganda.
"Believing the false hope that the AIADMK would go to Panneerselvam, a few MLAs and MPs had gone to his faction. They thought that they would become ministers if Panneerselvam becomes chief minister and MPs were hoping to become Union Ministers. To keep these people in his flock, Panneerselvam would continue to stage such dramas for one more week. As I told you earlier, Panneerselvam is an efficient Nadigar Thilakam (an excellent actor)," he added.
Asked whether there were any chances of his becoming the next chief minister of the State if he wins in the RK Nagar by-election, Dinakaran said "Definitely no."
When a scribe reminded him that the AIADMK leaders proposed the name of VK Sasikala for taking over as chief minister as well as general secretary of the party, Dinakaran said, "It was a decision taken at that time due to activities of then chief minister O Panneerselvam. Now, the functioning of the present Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami is being commended by the people and partymen. He will continue to be the chief minister of the AIADMK government."
On a further question as to whether he would budge if the AIADMK functionaries put forth a demand in future to assume the office of chief minister in future, a smiling Dinakaran quipped : "I don't want to feed the news-hungry media.”
Asked about the DMK’s attempts to woo the People’s Welfare Alliance for the by-election, Dinakaran said “Please wait and see the strategy of the AIADMK for the by-election. All our moves cannot be revealed to the media.”
On a further question in this regard, Dinakaran said, "We invite not only People's Welfare Alliance, but also MDMK general secretary Vaiko, DMDK founder Captain Vijaykant, Congress and BJP to come to our alliance. As far as the AIADMK is concerned, our only opponent is the DMK. Our sole aim is to prevent DMK from winning the by-election to RK Nagar. If other parties come forward to support us, we will accept it."
When reminded that late chief minister J Jayalalithaa had declared that there would be no tie up with the DMDK at any time, Dinakaran said "Amma had aligned with the BJP earlier. She had changed the strategy according to the need of the time. Please do not compare me with a tall leader like Jayalalithaa."
"Jayalalithaa had said in future there won’t be any alliance with the DMDK. It could have construed as up to next election. Do you think 'in future' means next 500 years? We need not cling to the same strategy for ever,” Dinakaran said, making it clear that the AIADMK is open to forming alliances.