T T V Dinakaran, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam Deputy General Secretary and the nephew of V K Sasikala, was on Wednesday nominated as the party’s candidate for the RK Nagar bypoll scheduled for April 12.
Election to the constituency was necessitated by the death of sitting member and former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa last December.
According to a party statement, the decision to field Dinakaran was taken at the AIADMK parliamentary board meeting, which is headed by its General Secretary Sasikala.
Dinakaran, nephew of Sasikala, is a former MP.
This will be the first election faced which the AIADMK will face post Jayalalithaa’s death and the bitter rift following a revolt by expelled leader and former Chief Minister O Panneerselvam.
While AIADMK will seek to continue its electoral dominance, the April 12 by-election is seen as an indicator of the people’s mindset in the wake of Jayalalithaa’s demise and the rift in the ruling party.
Dinakaran, who was expelled from the AIADMK in 2011, was re-inducted into the party last month by Sasikala after he expressed regret for his alleged anti-party activities.
Subsequently, he was appointed as the party’s deputy general secretary making him the second-in command after Sasikala, who is now serving a jail term in Bengaluru, in connection with the Rs 66 crore disproportionate assets case.
Sasikala, her husband M Natarajan and close relatives Dinakaran and Venkatesh were expelled from the AIADMK in 2011 by Jayalalithaa amidst reports then that they interfered in party and government administration.
Speaking to reporters, Dinakaran exuded confidence that he will win by a huge margin of over 50,000 votes from RK Nagar.
“I want to take forward the legacy of Amma (Jayalalithaa) and continue the work done and left behind by her,” he said.
Stating that he was contesting the bypoll following a decision taken by the party’s Parliamentary Board, he insisted that the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam was AIADMK’s main rival and welcomed the support of other parties.
“DMK is our rival and that is the policy of (party founder the late) MG Ramachandran and Amma. I am contesting from RK Nagar to prevent a DMK win and therefore will accept the support of others, whether it be Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam, Bharatiya Janata Party or even Congress,” he said.
To a query whether he would become the chief minister if elected, he said, “Edappadi K Palaniswami is the chief minister of Tamil Nadu,” and enjoys public goodwill and support on account of his performance.
He described as “imagination” the speculation that he will take over from Palaniswami in the case of being elected to the state assembly.
Dinakaran also refused to respond to a question on DMK approaching the Election Commission with a plea to transfer City Police Commissioner S George alleging he was acting in favour of the ruling AIADMK.
Replying to a query on expelled leader Panneerselvam, Dinakaran said he was carrying on a campaign against the party with a view to “mislead” people and termed him as a “great actor.”
Those AIADMK MLAs and MPs siding with him were doing so in anticipation of ministerial berths if possible, he alleged.
Meanwhile, the DMK too announced N Maruthuganesh as it candidate for the April 12 bypoll for RK Nagar constituency.
Party General Secretary K Anbazhagan made the announcement through a party release.