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AIADMK loses RK Nagar, can it face 18 bypolls?

By A Ganesh Nadar
Last updated on: December 24, 2017 19:56 IST
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Looming before it is a court case filed by 18 legislators dismissed by the speaker, challenging his decision and pointing out that in a similar situation 12 members of the O Panneerselvam faction were not dismissed, reports A Ganesh Nadar.

IMAGE: TTV Dinakaran supporters distribute sweets outside the counting centre in Chennai on December 24, 2017, to celebrate his victory in the RK Nagar bypoll. Photograph: ANI on Twitter.

No surprises from Tamil Nadu as TTV Dinakaran proved to be the MK Alagiri of the day. The campaign style that was begun by the latter in Thirumangalam in 2009 is alive and kicking, the RK Nagar bypoll has showed not once but twice within this year.

Dinakaran, the rebel All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam candidate in the fray, has defeated the official party candidate, E Madhusudanan, by 40,707 votes, bettering the 39,545 margin with which former chief minister Jayalalithaa had won the seat in 2016, which is as comprehensive a rout as can be.

 

Everyone else in the fray, including Marudhu Ganesh of the DMK, a party that had hoped the 2G spectrum case verdict will resonate with the electorate, has lost their deposit, effectively showing that the AIADMK votes remain with the fold.

For the official AIADMK, RK Nagar was the lesser of the battle facing it.

Looming before it is a court case filed by 18 legislators disqualified by the speaker, challenging his decision and pointing out that in a similar situation 12 members of the O Panneerselvam faction were not disqualified.

The ruling AIADMK should start praying that the court overrules the speaker and reinstates the MLAs, all Dinakaran supporters. Inside the assembly the legislators cannot go against the party whip without facing action. A byelection, on the other hand, is no guarantee that these seats will re-elect the AIADMK – Dinakaran having exposed its Achilles heel – and packs the potential to bring down the government.

Dinakaran, who made a triumphant return to Chennai on Sunday from Madurai, prayed his tribute at the MGR memorial on the occasion of the AIADMK founder's 30th death anniversary. He also announced that the state government will fall within three months. 

But, perhaps not unbeknownst to him, the Edappadi K Palaniswami-led government has a secret weapon to contain Dinakaran, in the form of the Grand Master.

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A Ganesh Nadar / Rediff.com in Chennai
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