Ruling party may lose RK Nagar bypoll in TN

AIADMK vote bank has been trifurcated and Jayalalithaa’s absence is being felt

shivani

Shivani Chaturvedi | April 4, 2017 | Chennai


#Sasikala   #split   #AIADMK   #bypoll   #RK Nagar   #Deepa   #OPS  
O Panneerselvam and E Madhusudhanan campaigning for RK Nagar constituency
O Panneerselvam and E Madhusudhanan campaigning for RK Nagar constituency

 The bypoll for RK Nagar assembly constituency, which fell vacant following the death of Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa, has seen the trifurcation of the AIADMK vote bank, which may see the party losing the seat.

The bypoll is on April 12.  RK Nagar constituency, though a high-profile constituency, had not seen development over the years. The constituency largely comprises the fisherfolk and economically weaker sections of society.
 
Traditionally, by-elections in Tamil Nadu have been won by the ruling party. But this might turn out to be the first by-election where the ruling party is most likely to lose, say political analysts.
 
The AIADMK vote bank is split among the three candidates - TTV Dinakaran (Sasikala’s nephew), E Madhusudhanan of OPS team, and J Deepa (Jayalalithaa’s niece). Dinakaran is contesting using ‘Hat’ symbol under party name AIADMK Amma, Madhusudhanan is contesting with ‘Electric Pole’ as the symbol under the party name AIADMK Puratchi Thalaivi Amma. J Deepa is fighting as an independent candidate.  
 The two factions of AIADMK are fighting without their two leaves symbol, which was frozen as both, the Sasikala, and the OPS camps were claiming it. Many residents of the constituency say that as the two leaves is not there, they have no reason to vote for the split AIADMK. Also, Jayalalithaa’s absence is going to make a big difference in RK Nagar byelection.
 
 There is anger against Sasikala. Dinakaran is not using Sasikala’s name or picture anywhere in the campaign. 
 
 OPS’s candidate Madhusudhanan is a local of that area, which may be to his advantage. He had also represented RK Nagar in the assembly between 1991 and 1996. He was also AIADMK presidium chairman.
 
The stakes are high for the opposition DMK as it will be an opportunity for Stalin to prove his political acumen. As of now the DMK is carrying out a low profile campaign. Some feel the DMK should have pressed hard in the campaign. 
 
As far as the two factions of AIADMK are concerned, they are merely talking about Jayalalithaa’s legacy and mystery over her death.
Also, money power may have an impact. If residents of the constituency are to be believed, money distribution among the electorate has already started. People are getting Rs 5,000 per vote. This, however, could not be independently verified.
 
It is not a new trend in Tamil Nadu. The practice started during the Thirumangalam byelection in Madurai district in January 2009. In Tirumangalam, the DMK party workers resorted to ingenious ways to distribute the money. And from there came the word “Thirumangalam formula”.
 

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