Updated: March 17, 2021 3:34:31 pm
AMMK general secretary T T V Dhinakaran will be contesting the Assembly elections from Kovilpatti near Tuticorin instead of the R K Nagar seat, which he won in the 2017 bypolls. Dhinakaran is believed to have opted for Kovilpatti because of the party’s success in the local body polls in the region in 2019.
In the Kayathar panchayat union (one of the two unions in Kovilpatti), headed by Dhinakaran’s close associate S V S P Manickaraja, AMMK has 13 councillors, while the AIADMK and the DMK have one and two councillors, respectively. Manickaraja also holds considerable influence over the Mukkulathur Thevar community in the region and Dhinakaran, also a Thevar, is hoping to bag their votes. He is also hoping to cash in on the strong sympathy among the community for Sasikala (a Thevar), who locals feel is being “threatened and cornered” by the BJP.
Kovilpatti is also being seen as a safe seat for Dhinakaran given that the AMMK candidate had polled about 20,000 votes in the Assembly segment in the last Lok Sabha elections.
Dhinakaran will be taking on the AIADMK’s sitting MLA and minister Kadambur C Raju, who won from the seat both in 2016 and 2011. But AMMK insiders believe Manickaraja’s influence and Dhinakaran’s popularity in the region will help defeat Raju. “It is a three-cornered contest. Dhinakaran will either win or come second, but minister Raju finish in the third place for sure,” said a source close to AMMK campaign in Kovilpatti.
The DMK-led alliance is fielding K Srinivasan of the CPI(M), and heavyweight leaders, including Kanimozhi, have already started campaigning for their candidate in the region.
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