Chennai: Independent candidate TTV Dinakaran, who was sidelined by AIADMK, has a sweeping victory in the RK Nagar bypoll of Tamil Nadu Assembly.
With this grand victory, Dhinakaran, nephew of jailed leader V K Sasikala is all set to make his debut in the Tamil Nadu Assembly. He defeated his rival E Madhusudhanan of the AIADMK by 40,707 votes.
The RK Nagar seat holds utmost significance because it was earlier held by former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa . Post her death in December last year, the seat fell vacant.
The assembly constituency henceforth became the much coveted seat as the person clinching it would be seen as the one succeeding the late CM.
The two factions of AIADMK led by current Chief Minister E Palaniswami and former Chief Minister O Panneerselvam had sidelined TTV Dinakaran, as they joined hands. It was in August that Dinakaran was evicted along with Sasikala, following the merger of the two factions.
TTV Dinakaran who consequently contested the elections as an independent candidate took the lead in the initial rounds of counting only. After gaining the lead Dinakaran came up with the statement that 'people of RK Nagar have chosen Amma’s successor'.
He took an unassailable lead of over 35,000 votes against his AIADMK rival E Madhusudhanan at the end of 16 rounds of counting. At the end of the 16th round of counting, Dhinakaran bagged 76,701 votes out of the 1,53,201 valid votes so far, while AIADMK veteran Madhusudhanan got 41,526. DMK's N Maruthuganesh got 21,827 votes, leaving him a distant third among the 59 candidates.
Incidentally, NOTA (None of The Above) pipped BJP candidate Karu Nagarajan, as 2,203 voters preferred it to the BJP candidate who only received 1,236 votes.
Dinakaran went on to win the by-election by defeating senior AIADMK leader E. Madhusudan and popular DMK leader N Maruthuganesh. The loss is undoubtedly a big setback for the stalwarts.
Voting for the high-profile RK Nagar constituency was held on December 21, and saw a record 77 per cent turnout in the by-election.
(With inputs from PTI)