Battlelines drawn for RK Nagar byelection

Our Bureaus Chennai/New Delhi | Updated on January 15, 2018 Published on March 23, 2017

TTV Dinakaran

Deepa Jayakumar

E Madhusudhanan   -  BIJOY GHOSH

After EC awards new names, symbols to AIADMK factions, candidates file nominations

Candidates of both factions of the AIADMK filed their nominations for the much-anticipated bypoll to the RK Nagar Assembly constituency. The election will be held on April 12.

The seat fell vacant following the demise of former Chief Minister and party supremo J Jayalalithaa in December last year.

With the Election Commission freezing the ‘two leaves’ symbol, each faction has been assigned different names and symbols.

The faction represented by former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam has been given the name All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (Puratchi Thalaivi Amma) and the ‘electric pole’ symbol, while the VK Sasikala faction is being called AIADMK (Amma) and has a ‘hat’ as its symbol.

The poll panel’s interim order came late on Wednesday.

In the fray

On Thursday, TTV Dinakaran of the Sasikala faction and E Madhusudhanan of the OPS (Panneerselvam) faction filed their nominations. Dinakaran, Sasikala’s nephew, is the Deputy General Secretary of the AIADMK, and Madhusudhanan, the former Presidium Chairman.

Jayalalithaa’s niece Deepa Jayakumar and BJP candidate, music director, Gangai Amaran are also in the fray. Main Opposition DMK has fielded local functionary Maruthu Ganesh.

Madhusudhanan, who represented RK Nagar between 1991 and 1996, said OPS enjoys the support of the people. “MGR, the [AIADMK’s] founder, and Amma (Jayalalithaa) never favoured family rule.”

He said Sasikala was only an assistant to ‘Amma’. Jayalalithaa had never allowed Sasikala’s relatives, including Dinakaran into the party, he asserted.

Dinakaran, sporting a white hat, told media persons that he would fulfil all the promises made by Jayalalithaa to develop RK Nagar as a ‘model constituency’.

A tough battle

The election will be hard-fought as it is being seen as a test of the people’s support, not just for either faction, but for the AIADMK itself, after the death of the charismatic Jayalalithaa.

Her death had sparked infighting in the party, with Sasikala taking over as General Secretary and making a bid for the post of Chief Minister. Panneerselvam, who was Chief Minister following Jayalalithaa’s death, chose to rebel, taking with him a few MLAs and MPs of the party. Sasikala’s plans were stalled only after she was convicted and jailed in a disproportionate assets case in which Jayalalithaa, too, was accused. Sasikala named Dinakaran as the Deputy General Secretary before surrendering to the authorities.

EC hard-pressed for time

In its interim order on Wednesday, the Commission said it had decided to freeze the “two leaves” symbol for the current by-election as there was little time for a full-fledged award.

What made things difficult for the poll panel were the practical difficulties of going through the supporting documents, which sources said, ran into over 20,000 pages.

These communications had to do with the OPS faction of the party approaching the Election Commission stating that the AIADMK had no provisions for picking an interim General Secretary and Sasikala’s appointment was therefore not valid. They also stressed that all appointments made by Sasikala were also illegal. Sasikala was appointed the interim General Secretary late last year in a unanimous resolution adopted by the party at its General Council meeting.

Published on March 23, 2017

A letter from the Editor

Dear Readers,

The coronavirus crisis has changed the world completely in the last few months. All of us have been locked into our homes, economic activity has come to a near standstill. Everyone has been impacted.

Including your favourite business and financial newspaper. Our printing and distribution chains have been severely disrupted across the country, leaving readers without access to newspapers. Newspaper delivery agents have also been unable to service their customers because of multiple restrictions.

In these difficult times, we, at BusinessLine have been working continuously every day so that you are informed about all the developments – whether on the pandemic, on policy responses, or the impact on the world of business and finance. Our team has been working round the clock to keep track of developments so that you – the reader – gets accurate information and actionable insights so that you can protect your jobs, businesses, finances and investments.

We are trying our best to ensure the newspaper reaches your hands every day. We have also ensured that even if your paper is not delivered, you can access BusinessLine in the e-paper format – just as it appears in print. Our website and apps too, are updated every minute, so that you can access the information you want anywhere, anytime.

But all this comes at a heavy cost. As you are aware, the lockdowns have wiped out almost all our entire revenue stream. Sustaining our quality journalism has become extremely challenging. That we have managed so far is thanks to your support. I thank all our subscribers – print and digital – for your support.

I appeal to all or readers to help us navigate these challenging times and help sustain one of the truly independent and credible voices in the world of Indian journalism. Doing so is easy. You can help us enormously simply by subscribing to our digital or e-paper editions. We offer several affordable subscription plans for our website, which includes Portfolio, our investment advisory section that offers rich investment advice from our highly qualified, in-house Research Bureau, the only such team in the Indian newspaper industry.

A little help from you can make a huge difference to the cause of quality journalism!

Support Quality Journalism
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor
You have read 1 out of 3 free articles for this week. For full access, please subscribe and get unlimited access to all sections.