Chennai: The V.K. Sasikala camp of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) on Wednesday announced deputy general secretary T.T.V. Dinakaran as the candidate for the Radhakrishnan Nagar (RKNagar) by-election in Chennai on 12 April. N. Maruthu Ganesh from the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) will contest against Dinakaran.
The constituency fell vacant following former chief minister J. Jayalalithaa’s death on 5 December.
The resentment between the Sasikala camp and former chief minister O. Panneerselvam’s rebel faction would heighten ahead of the polls as DMK would try to prove its mettle in Jayalalithaa’s absence given the instability within the AIADMK.
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.
“I will win the RK Nagar constituency with a margin of 50,000 votes,” said Dinakaran, requesting all parties, other than rival DMK, to support the AIADMK in the by-poll.
Within minutes of AIADMK’s announcement, DMK declared Ganesh, the party’s secretary for RK Nagar east division, as the candidate against Dinakaran.
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 nomination begins on Thursday and the last date to file is 23 March. The votes will be counted on 15 April.