Eight parties in race for RK Nagar seat

Byelection crucial for future of OPS team.

Chennai: With a couple of days to go for the filing of nomination papers to contest the RK Nagar bypoll, eight parties are in the fray, but the key contest is expected to be between DMK nominee Marudhu Ganesh and AIADMK deputy general secretary T.T.V. Dinakaran, if the latter manages to get 'two leaves' symbol.

As Naam Thamizhar Katchi leader P. Seeman declared Thamizhan TV owner Kalaikottudhayam as his party candidate, the number of party candidates went up to eight in the crucial bypoll. TMC became the fifth party to boycott the contest after the PMK, MDMK, CPI and VCK. TMC leader G.K. Vasan said his party would neither contest nor support anyone in the RK Nagar byelection.

The bypoll will be the first test of popularity for the AIADMK after the demise of former Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa, imprisonment of its general secretary V.K. Sasikala and the revolt of three times Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam.

Dinakaran is in the fray to win the much needed legitimacy for his family which is under attack from the rebel groups and the opposition. A win or second place could come as a relief for Dinakaran, his family and the AIADMK government
Besides, Dinakaran, the breakaway rebel group led by former Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam has fielded party presidium chairman E. Madhusudhanan and MGR Amma Deepa Peravai secretary and former Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa's niece J. Deepa are fighting it out for Jayalalithaa's legacy. If Dinakaran fails to get the magic symbol of 'two leaves', OPS group would be very much in the battle which could become a three-way fight between DMK, AIADMK and OPS group.

The bypoll would be crucial for the future of Panneerselvam's team which is challenging the Sasikala-headed party since this is the first opportunity for Panneerselvam to show that he has a mass base. Buoyed by its spectacular sweep in Uttar Pradesh, the BJP has pitted film director and lyricist Gangai Amaran and the DMDK has entered the race with its North Chennai secretary Madhivanan as the candidate. CPM has fielded R. Loganathan in the seat which has a sizeable number of workers.

Every vote in the bypoll would count for each of the parties in the field and each vote polled by the minor players is certain to have a bearing on the outcome and the fate of the leading contestants. There was a six cornered contest in the 2016 Assembly elections and this time eight parties in the fray makes the tussle very interesting as the results could be a reflection of the altered ground realities after the death of Jayalalithaa.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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