Figuring out the TTV challenge in RK Nagar elections

First Published 16, Oct 2017, 3:07 PM IST
Figuring out the TTV challenge in RK Nagar elections
  • There is a lot riding on the RK Nagar bypoll
  •  Dhinakaran has been expelled from the AIADMK, will he still be able to contest the polls?
  • If he contests as an Independent MLA instead, then it remains to be seen where he will get his support from considering he has only 18 MLAs

Sidelined AIADMK leader TTV Dhinakaran on Sunday said he is ready to contest the R K Nagar bypoll, elections for which are to be held before December 31 (according to the Election Commission), but it would be party general secretary V K Sasikala who would name the candidate.

“The party General Secretary V K Sasikala will select the candidate and announce the name,” he said. The seat had fallen vacant after the death of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.

There is a lot riding on the RK Nagar bypoll. In another state it would have a normal course of things once the sitting leader vacates/dies. But in this case, the RK Nagar constituency assumes significance because it was Amma’s turf and by winning this coveted seat, the candidates want to prove that the people trust in them after Amma and that Jalalithaa approves of the candidature.


Dhinakaran’s poll announcement leads us to analyse quite a few things in and against his favour

1.       The bribery case which saw him going to jail on April 26 this year, is still not solved nor has he been acquitted. He served a jail term and this could mean he has a huge hurdle to cross to be able to contest the elections given the criminal history. Of course, the ball is in the EC's court. 

2.       It was Sasikala, his aunt and former self-appointed general secretary of AIADMK who brought in all the MLAs into the party and Dhinakaran, can appeal to the loyalty of these MLAs to support his candidature. Since TTV is looking for votes, he has only 18 MLAs to his side but if you remember the ‘Sleeper Cells’ dialogue, it is to be seen if these cells will get activated during the time of polls, again upsetting the majority. The win is very important for Dhinakaran because then it would mean the people and MLAs are with Sasikala and that OPS and EPS were wrong in ousting them.

3.       Considering the fact that the clout aunt and nephew had on the party is on the wane, it remains to be seen if his boast of Sasikala appointing the candidate holds true.

On September 12, the AIADMK finally passed the resolution to kick Sasikala out as the general secretary of AIADMK. The party has also passed the resolution to boot out Sasikala’s nephew and AIADMK’s deputy general secretary TTV Dhinakaran from the post. All appointments and decisions taken by Dhinakaran stands null and void. Based on this diktat, it means TTV will have to contest as an Independent MLA not under the AIADMK banner. But then again, the EC is yet to decide on who holds the two leaves symbol. Going by history, TTV could contest from a different symbol, and so will the EPS-OPS faction.

4.       Talking about him contesting as an Independent MLA, provided his papers are clear, we all know how much money TTV has. It can be judged by the way he has been housing his supporting MLAs in resorts and it is a known fact that for any elections money is essential and TTV still has loads of it to buy loyalty if the need arises.

5.       Another thing to be decided by the Election Commission is that last time TTV and some of his MLAs were proven to be involved in the cash for votes scam. What guarantee do they have that history will not repeat itself? It was this very reason that led to the April 12 RK Nagar polls being cancelled in the first place.