R.K. Nagar byelection will decide inheritor of Jayalalithaa’s legacy

While AIADMK factions prepare to fight it out, the stakes are high for DMK too

Updated - March 18, 2017 02:52 am IST

Published - March 18, 2017 12:47 am IST -

A multi-pronged contest is on the cards, with three factions of AIADMK posing a challenge to its own fortunes

A multi-pronged contest is on the cards, with three factions of AIADMK posing a challenge to its own fortunes

If the Dindigul Lok Sabha by-election four-and-half decades ago, heralded the arrival of the AIADMK in Tamil Nadu in a big way, the R.K. Nagar by-poll is set to decide who among the two factions in the AIADMK is the true inheritor of late Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s legacy.

The AIADMK won the LS seat in a four-cornered contest in 1973 but today, the two factions of the party pose a challenge to its own fortunes. It is not certain if its ‘Two Leaves’ symbol will be allowed in the election as claims and counter claims have been filed before the Election Commission.

“While the factions headed by Ms. Sasikala and Mr. O. Panneerselvam are fighting for the political legacy of late Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, her niece Deepa is in the fray to claim her share as a family member. The outcome will decide the future of these three groups of the AIADMK,” said Viduthalai Chiruthaikal Katchi (VCK) leader Thol. Thirumavalavan.

AIADMK spokesperson Panruti S. Ramachandran felt that the election was crucial for the party. “Since the AIADMK is the ruling party, its outcome will directly affect the future course of Tamil Nadu politics,” he said.

The People’s Welfare Front (PWF) has not decided about entering the fray as the CPI and the CPI(M) have a difference of opinion. The DMK has fielded a local party secretary, N. Marudhu Ganesh, who is a journalist. “The outcome will decide the future of Dinakaran, who is seeking a mandate for his elevation in the party and in the government,” said Prof. Ramu Manivannan of the Politics and Public Administration Department of Madras University.

‘Important for Stalin’

Mr. Thirumavalavan said the election was equally important for the DMK since it followed Mr. Stalin’s elevation as its working president.

“We can’t come to the conclusion that the chaos in AIADMK will automatically help DMK as disenchantment with the two Dravidian parties is evident from recent protests. We also cannot seek to fill the gap, going by the outcome of the 2016 Assembly polls,” Mr. Thirumavalavan said. Former Minister K. Pandiarajan of the Panneerselvam faction said the bypoll was critical, as it would establish the group as the true inheritor of Jayalalithaa’s legacy.

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