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Riding High on RK Nagar Bypoll Win, Dhinarakan Says He Will Repeat Jayalalithaa's 2014 Success

The former AIADMK leader says that after May 23 (the day election results will be announced), the party’s ‘two leaves’ symbol and cadres will be with him.

Poornima Murali | CNN-News18

Updated:April 6, 2019, 9:11 PM IST
Riding High on RK Nagar Bypoll Win, Dhinarakan Says He Will Repeat Jayalalithaa's 2014 Success
File photo of former AIADMK leader TTV Dhinakaran.

Chennai: The upcoming election in Tamil Nadu is not just about a contest between traditional rivals — the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK).

The two parties and their alliances have a bigger adversary in TTV Dhinakaran. After sweeping the RK Nagar bypoll, Dhinakaran is campaigning in full swing across the 38 Lok Sabha constituencies and the 18 constituencies that will go to polls on April 18.

Confident of repeating the bypoll success, Dhinakaran says, “We are the real A team of the people of Tamil Nadu and we are going to win. Like our beloved leader (late J Jayalalithaa) who won 37 seats in 2014, we will ensure a similar result in the 2019 Lok Sabha election. See what happened in the RK Nagar by-election. I got 90,000 votes. The DMK candidate got only 29,000 votes and lost his deposit and the AIADMK contestant got 44,000 votes.”

While political analysts believe Dhinakaran’s Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) will largely eat into the AIADMK vote bank, the rebel leader says, “I don’t have to eat into anybody's vote bank. I will get votes from the people of Tamil Nadu and I will be the winner. We will win in 37 of the 40 seats.”

Dhinakaran had floated AMMK after he and his aunt, VK Sasikala (a long-time aide of the late chief minister), were expelled from the Palaniswami-led AIADMK.

His strength lies in areas like southern Tamil Nadu which has so far remained an AIADMK bastion. Riding high on the RK Nagar victory, the former AIADMK leader says after May 23 (the day election results will be announced), the party’s ‘two leaves’ symbol and cadres will be with him.

“We won Amma (Jayalalithaa)’s RK Nagar constituency. We will eventually get the AIADMK symbol from betrayers and all the AIADMK cadres will come to us post elections,” the rebel leader says.

The fight over symbol has been lingering since April 2017 in the aftermath of the announcement of the bypoll to Radha Krishnan Nagar constituency following the AIADMK supremo’s death in December 2016.

Dhinakaran’s main campaign is based on the allegation that the BJP-AIADMK faction led by Chief Minister E K Palaniswami and O Paneerselvam have ignored the rights of the people of Tamil Nadu.

He says, “People want to topple both the state and the Central governments as both have ignored their concerns. They want a change and a new government.”

It’s not just about the Lok Sabha polls that the parties are concerned about as the focus is also on the 18 bypolls.

While the DMK is trying all legal routes to ensure that bypolls take in all the 21 constituencies, both the DMK and AMMK are confident that the government’s days are numbered.

“There are 18 bypolls along with Lok Sabha polls. It’s a mini Assembly election. The ruling party has to win at least eight of these seats. Else, the government will go. The AIADMK will not win even a single Assembly seat in the election. It is going to be a sweep for the AMMK in the bypolls as well,” says Dhinakaran.

The DMK and AMMK also agree on another point — both of them claim that the AIADMK is a “slave” of the BJP.

Dhinarakaran says, “The BJP is the boss and the AIADMK is the servant. This the relationship between the two. They have the name (AIADMK) and the symbol, but don’t have a leader. Voters will surely teach them a lesson.”

He says his agenda for the upcoming elections is to defeat Modi and in turn, defeat his former party.

All eyes are on May 23 to know whether Dhinkaran will be able to recreate the RK Nagar magic.

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| Edited by: Sohini Goswami
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