Rebel AIADMK leader Dhinakaran looks to force bypoll in another Tamil Nadu seat

Dhinakaran’s latest move of getting his loyalist to withdraw the challenge petition in court is likely to force a bypoll in Andipatti, the constituency of both MG Ramachandran and Jayalalithaa. 

india Updated: Jun 19, 2018 08:06 IST
M Manikandan
M Manikandan
Hindustan Times, Chennai
Dhinakaran,AIADMK,Rebel AIADMK disqualified MLAs
Rebel AIADMK leader TTV Dhinakaran during the launch of his political party 'Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK)' in Madurai.(PTI File Photo)

Rebel AIADMK leader and nephew of former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa’s close aide Sasikala, TTV Dhinakaran has unveiled a new gambit to both keep his flock of 18 disqualified MLAs together and prove a point that his victory in the RK Nagar bypoll was no luck.

His latest move — of getting his loyalist, Andipatti MLA Thanga Tamilselvan, one of the 18 disqualified, to withdraw the challenge petition — is likely to force a bypoll. This follows the split verdict of a two-judge bench of the Madras high court hearing the petitions, with the decision now resting on the third judge.

But Dhinakaran’s stance is likely rooted in the near-mythical status the AIADMK holds in Andipatti, the constituency of both MG Ramachandran and Jayalalithaa.

Dhinkaran, who has floated Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) to counter the official All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, hopes to have Tamilselvan contest on an AMMK ticket and win, thus strengthening his claim to be the real inheritors of MGR and Jaya’s legacy.

Dhinakaran, who has already won in Jayalalithaa’s RK Nagar assembly constituency by a huge margin, is looking to repeat that in Andipatti — a strategy to keep his cadres energised. Tamilselvan has announced his intention to withdraw his petition in the high court, even as other MLAs continue to push for a legal resolution to their disqualification.

“I am unable to serve my Andipatti people who voted for me in the previous assembly election. As the judicial proceedings are dragging on, I have decided to withdraw my petition. This would enable the Election Commission to order polls for the Andipatti, which is vacant. I explained the decision to TTV Dhinakaran on Thursday and got the green signal from him,” MLA Tamilsevan told HT.

Dhinakaran responded to his decision, saying, “Just like I won in RK Nagar, we will make Tamilselvan win by a huge margin in Jayalalithaa’s and MGR’s Aandipatti constituency as well.”

Meanwhile, local media reports have claimed the AIADMK camp led by chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam is working out a counter-strategy of trying to lure some of the disqualified MLAs by offering positions.

Tamilsevan denied these reports. “I was never assured a minister’s post. If everything was cordial (with the EPS-OPS camp), then why would I have been disqualified? I have decided to withdraw (the petition) for other reasons,” he said, without specifying those reasons.

Kadhirkamu, another disqualified MLA, who represents Periyakulam, said, “If there are bypolls for Andippatti, AMMK will win by a huge margin. However, we 17 MLAs have hopes in the judiciary and we are waiting for the third judge’s verdict.” Kadhirkamu made it clear he has no intention to follow the footsteps of Tamilselvan.

First Published: Jun 19, 2018 08:04 IST