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AIADMK deputy general secretary T T V Dinakaran, who is the nephew of party general secretary V K Sasikala, will contest the April 12 R K Nagar bypoll in Chennai. The seat got vacated after the death of Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa. The party’s parliamentary board meeting on Wednesday announced Dinakaran’s candidature. The RK Nagar bypoll is going to witness a tough battle between one faction of the AIADMK, to which Dinakaran belongs, and opposition DMK. The challenge before Dinakaran wouldn’t be from the DMK alone but candidates of two other factions of the now splintered AIADMK — one led by O Panneerselvam and the other led by Jayalalithaa’s niece Deepa. These factions may fragment the votes of the AIADMK.
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Jayalalithaa had won the election with a 30,000-vote margin in May 2016. After the announcement of his candidature, Dinakaran said he was proud to contest the bypoll to continue the welfare measures initiated by Jayalalithaa. He hoped he would win the bypoll by a margin of 50,000 votes with the support of the cadre and the public. Dinakaran, underplaying rivals from his own party —Panneerselvam and Deepa —said the DMK would be his rival, “not any individual”.
The DMK on Wednesday announced the party’s R K Nagar east division secretary Marudhu Ganesh as the candidate for the bypoll. The DMK believes Ganesh, a familiar face in the locality, will be good enough to fight Dinakaran, an outsider with a tainted image . “Neither his position as deputy general secretary of the AIADMK, nor the backing of the Thevar community would help Dinakaran here. His pleasant and humble behaviour may be the only advantage,” said a senior DMK leader who hopes that the DMK will win the election with not less than 30,000 majority. S Ramadoss’s PMK, Vaiko’s MDMK and G K Vasan’s TMC are likely to boycott the election.