CHENNAI: December 21 bypolls to the prestigious RK Nagar constituency in north Chennai is likely to be a four-cornered contest with the ruling AIADMK, its rebel T.T.V. Dhinakaran, DMK and BJP likely to enter the fray. While the DMDK led by Vijayakanth announced that it would boycott the polls since there was “no point in contesting” by-polls in Tamil Nadu and the PMK likely to follow suit, the Congress said it would support ally DMK’s nominee.
CPI, CPI (M) and VCK – who form the People’s Welfare Alliance – said they would take a call on contesting the elections in a couple of days. Sources said the PWA might not field a candidate for the bypolls as it took the same decision in the April 12 polls that was cancelled due to large-scale violations of model code of conduct.
With the BJP declaring that it would field a “popular candidate”, the contest in RK Nagar is set to be a political potboiler. While the AIADMK appears to be veering around the idea of fielding its presidium chairman E Madhusudhanan, popular in the constituency since he has been living there for 40 years, yet again, the DMK is likely to put its weight behind Marudhu Ganesh, who was its nominee in April.
For the record, AIADMK and DMK leaders said the party would take a call on the candidates. Rebel Dhinakaran has already announced that he would contest making it a four-cornered contest, albeit for now. “The party’s governing council will decide who will be the candidate,” Madhusudhanan told reporters, when asked whether he would enter the fray this time since the party is now armed with the magical Two Leaves symbol.
For more than one reason, the by-polls to R K Nagar constituency which is likely to be held before Christmas will serve as an acid test for the EPS-OPS duo since this is the first elections that the AIADMK will face after the demise of its charismatic leader J Jayalalithaa last December. While the ruling combine will face the elections in the name of Jayalalithaa, the Opposition would convert it into a referendum on the functioning of the AIADMK government for the past one-year. TN BJP chief Tamilisai Soundararajan told reporters that the Election Commission should ensure that voters are not bribed this time around....