Lok Sabha polls | AMMK fields Dhinakaran in Theni, Senthilnathan in Tiruchi

March 25, 2024 12:26 am | Updated 11:36 am IST - CHENNAI

AMMK founder T.T.V. Dhinakaran. File

AMMK founder T.T.V. Dhinakaran. File | Photo Credit: Bijoy Ghosh

AMMK founder T.T.V. Dhinakaran on Sunday, March 24, 2024 announced that he would contest from the Theni Lok Sabha constituency as a candidate of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in the Lok Sabha election. He is set to take on his former associate Thanga Tamilselvan, who is now with the DMK.

Mr. Dhinakaran had represented the Periyakulam constituency in Parliament during 1999-2024. After delimitation, the constituency ceased to exist and Theni was declared a Lok Sabha constituency. With his entry, the electoral battle here is likely to be intense as it is also the native of expelled AIADMK leader O. Panneerselvam, who too is a part of the NDA.

In 2019, Theni was the only seat that the AIADMK had won. Mr. Panneerselvam’s son, P. Raveendhranath Kumar, is its MP. It may be noted that Mr. Tamilselvan was among the 18 legislators of the AIADMK who were disqualified for extending support to Mr. Dhinakaran. He joined the DMK in 2019.

He had unsuccessfully contested from Theni Lok Sabha constituency as an AMMK candidate in 2019. In the 2021 Assembly election, he lost to Mr. Panneerselvam, who was then with the AIADMK. Announcing his candidature from Theni , Mr. Dhinakaran appealed to the electorate to support the NDA’s candidates in all 40 Lok Sabha constituencies in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, in a bid to “strengthen the hand of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the country’s security”.

The AMMK has fielded P. Senthilnathan, a sitting councillor, as its candidate for the Tiruchi Lok Sabha seat. Stressing that he had come to meet his electorate in Theni, Mr. Dhinakaran said he was confident that they would ensure his victory in the poll.

Mr. Dhinakaran, who is the nephew of V.K. Sasikala, the aide of late AIADMK leader Jayalalithaa, has also been a Rajya Sabha member. He was elected as an Independent candidate from the Dr. Radhakrishnan Nagar Assembly constituency in the bypoll that was necessitated by Jayalalithaa’s death.

Though Mr. Dhinakaran was among those suspended from the AIADMK, Ms. Sasikala, as then AIADMK interim general secretary in February 2017, revoked their suspension and named him the party’s deputy general secretary before going to jail in a corruption case. She had declared that he would enjoy the powers of the general secretary in her absence. After the leadership of the AIADMK went to former Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami, Mr. Dhinakaran floated the AMMK in 2018.

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