Dhinakaran wins RK Nagar bypoll, stuns AIADMK

Saul Bowman
December 25, 2017

The party had split over the issue and the two factions merged in August only after Palaniswami, who was leading one faction, agreed to Panneerselvam's demand and evicted Sasikala and Dhinakaran.

For the ruling regime helmed by Palanisamy and his deputy O Panneerselvam, it will be seen as an acid test of whether voters prefer them after the demise of their formidable leader late Jayalalithaa in December past year.

The counting will be held in 19 rounds and as many as 200 officials from both central and state government services have been deputed for the exercise.

Success for an aggressive DMK is critical as it would lend credence to its campaign line that the people were fed up with the incumbent "horse-trading" regime and wanted to bring it to the seat of power for dispensing good governance.

The meeting at the party headquarters here was attended by ministers and senior office-bearers of the AIADMK, where the reasons behind the party candidate and presidium chairman E Madhsudhanan's defeat in the by-election were analysed in detail.

The bypoll in the Assembly constituency was necessitated following the death of J Jayalalithaa in December last.

Meanwhile, Dhinakaran's supporters have already begun celebrating and distributing candies.

"I thank the people of RK Nagar for giving us this victory on behalf of the people of TN".

Now, Dinakaran will leave no stone unturned to woo the MLAs backing EPS-OPS and topple the government. It would really be premature to assume that result of RK Nagar reflects the mood of the entire state, but what is clear is that it would give Sasikala faction's claim of being "true heir of Amma" a major boost.

It showed how Stalin and Dhinakaran planned to defame party founder, the late M G Ramachandran and late chief minister J Jayalalithaa by joining hands to "defeat two leaves", the AIADMK's symbol, they had said. While Dinakaran contested as an Independent candidate, the EPS-OPS faction had fielded Madhusudhanan.

Prof Ramu Manivannan said the camp would now deal with depleting number as well as pressure from the BJP Gover-nment. They will be severely tested for their ability to keep their flock together.

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