Both factions of AIADMK are embroiled in a fierce battle as the RK Puram by election draws near. O Paneerselvam faction which suffered a setback on the floor of Assembly is hell bent to defeat T T V Dinakaran nephew of Sasikala who is now in Parappana Agrahara jail after Supreme Court found her guilty in disproportionate asset case. Victory in RK Puram will enable the Paneerselvam faction to mount pressure on the MLAs who are now supporting Palanisamy government to come out. At the same time TTV Dinakaran emerging victorious would see Sasikala and her family’s grip in the party and government increasing.
Both factions have already approached the Election Commission to stake their claim for the party symbol. OPS faction had earlier wrote to the commission saying the appointment of Sasikala as the General Secretary and and TTV Dinakaran as Dy.General Secretary as violation of party constitution.
The by-election had come after the demise of AIADMK leader and former chief minister J Jayalalithaa last December.
The state has been seeing heated political discussions and was at the centre of political turmoil since the death of Jayalalithaa. AIADMK, the party Jayalalithaa led in unity and win many elections, saw a split after when her close confidante O Panneerselvan (OPS) along with 13 other senior leaders defected the party when a faction tried to anoint Sasikala as the Chief Minister. Supreme Court verdict in the disproportionate asset case dashed her hopes of becoming the chief minister. She then appointed Palanisami as chief minister.
Though the palanisami government won the vote of confidence amid high drama, doubts were expressed by many about the ground support for Sasikala and Palanisami. OPS faction has not announced their candidate for the poll.
Meanwhile, the first reports from RK Nagar are to be believed, OPS is gaining a mass momentum there.
RK Nagar bypoll has been announced and we have asked the ECI to allot the party symbol, twin leaves, to us citing various violations of party by-laws that the Sasikala faction has made.O Panneerselvam
Sasikala camp’s candidate was a Lok Sabha MP from Periyakulam constituency in 1999 and a member of Rajya Sabha from 2004 to 2010, Dinakaran was expelled from the party by Jayalalithaa in 2011. He was inducted into the party by his aunt Sasikala last month. Within a day, he was appointed as the deputy general secretary of the party, hours before Sasikala left for a Bengaluru prison, following her conviction in a disproportionate assets case.
Dinakaran is facing trial along with Sasikala in three Foreign Exchange Regulations Act (FERA) violation cases booked by the Enforcement Directorate.
At the same time DMK with a new leader in the form of MK Stalin is looking for a fresh chance to spring back to their political domineering. They too announced their candidate, Ganesh, party secretary for RK Nagar east division is contesting this tie.
While Jayalalithaa’s niece Deepa Jayakumar who recently floated a new forum has decided to contest from RK Nagar, Vijayakanth’s Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) will field the party’s North Chennai district secretary P. Mathivanan.
Jayalalithaa contested from RK Nagar in north Chennai in the 2015 by-poll after her acquittal in the disproportionate assets case. She was re-elected from the same constituency in the May 2016 assembly elections. While Jayalalithaa won by a margin of 97,218 votes, Shimla Muthuchozhan of the DMK was the runner-up with 57,673 votes in May last year.
The RK Nagar constituency has been under the AIADMK's control from 2001, when PK Sekar Babu won the Assembly Elections there. Fifteen years later, it was handpicked by Jayalalithaa to show her might at the 2016 Assembly Elections.
The nomination begins on Thursday and the last date to file is 23 March. The votes will be counted on 15 April. However, with nearly a month remaining the camps of various political lineage is looking for every oppurtunity to turn into a windfall for them in RK Nagar.