AIADMK(EPS-OPS), AIADMK (Sasikala) and DMK have announced candidates for the crucial RK Nagar by-elections. The election here is touted as the battle of prestige and inheritance as the seat was held by former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa. The seat had fell vacant after her demise and the bypoll were schedule for April this year. At that time, the polls were postponed after allegations of bribing in the elections. The controversy later resulted in a split between AIADMK’s larger unit led by Sasikala Natrajan and led to sidelining of her nephew TTV Dhinakaran in the party. Since then, the faction led by E Palaniswamy and O Panneerselvm have joined hands and even formed the government in the state.
Here’s all you need to know about the RK Nagar bypolls:
Candidates: There are three main candidates who are fighting election here. AIADMK (Sasikala) has fielded TTV Dhinakaran, AIADMK has fielded Madhusudhanan, while DMK has pinned hopes on Marudhu Ganesh.
Issues: The constituency received special attention from the state government ever since Jayalalithaa was elected an MLA from here in 2015. However, the development works were slowed down after her demise. Recently, Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami passed an order to construct houses for fishermen, which reportedly promised by Jayalalithaa during her 2016 election campaign.
However, allotment of housing board homes and water availability issues remain as problems. As per a report, there are more than 2,000 homes which are not more than 300 square feet lacking basic facilities such as proper sewage connection and drinking water.
Date: The election will take place on December 21.
Controversy: Earlier, the by-polls were scheduled for April 12, 2017 but were cancelled by the EC following allegations of bribing of voters. During the same period of time, the Income Tax department held searches on the premises of Tamil Nadu Health Minister C Vijayabaskar. The IT department had also raided the residences of Minister’s associates. The documents seized in the raids allegedly revealed that Rs 89 crore were routed for “distribution to voters”.
The officials had alleged that the VK Sasikala faction of the party paid money to voters to buy support for its candidate TTV Dinakaran, who is also her nephew. As evidence, the department had cited documents seized during raids on Friday in more than 35 places – including properties of the state health minister C Vijayabaskar.
Later, DMK working president Stalin had demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. He had said that Palaniswami, who was in Sasikala’s camp at that time, had distributed cash for votes.