THOOTHUKUDI: Will 2021 be remembered as the election that ended TTV Dhinakaran's quixotic quest to reclaim the AIADMK? Possibly, after minister Kadambur C Raju managed to retain his seat in Kovilpatti by defeating the AMMK general secretary in a battle within the battle.
Although Raju ultimately prevailed, he only held a slender lead over Dhinakaran for the better part of the counting of votes for the constituency. The much-anticipated clash between the AIADMK and AMMK, formed with the goal of 'reclaiming the AIADMK', had managed to attract the attention of the entire state.
While Raju finally secured 68,556 votes and won, AMMK's Dhinakaran garnered 56,153 votes. The CPM candidate K Srinivasan managed only 37,380 votes and ended up in third place.
Raju emerged successful with a difference of 12,403 votes. Naam Tamilar Katchi's Gomathi Mariappan garnered 9,213 votes to end up fourth.
The AMMK was mainly counting on Thevar community votes to carry it to victory. However, Dhinakaran only managed a wafer-thin lead of 19 votes over Raju during round 5, when votes from the Kayathar region, an AMMK stronghold, were counted.
In the run-up to the polls, the AMMK cadre had clashes with the AIADMK men at many places. The political analysts said that AMMK had failed due to its heavy reliance on community votes.
As the two heavyweights locked horns, the DMK's ally CPM could not score despite Kovilpatti being a labour-intensive region, analysts opined. The defeat of AMMK's general secretary could spell the end of the party's political aspirations. While Dhinakaran was elected to Assembly in 2017 from RK Nagar, this time the party has no representation in the House.