The massive victory of sidelined AIADMK leader T.T.V. Dinakaran in the Radhakrishnan Nagar (R.K.Nagar) bypoll is a combination of various factors but in any case, a big setback for ruling AIADMK headed by Chief Minister K.Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O.Panneerselvam as well as the opposition DMK, said political analysts. Dinakaran contested the by-polls held on December 21 as an independent candidate majorly crossing swords with the ruling AIADMK and the DMK, that was supported by two communist parties, Indian Union Muslim League, MMK, VCK, MDMK and others. He secured over 89,000 votes and won the seat with a margin of over 40,000 votes. “The losing parties would complain about voter bribing by Dinakaran. But it is not the only factor that people and also the AIADMK cadres voted in his favour. He was seen as a fighting leader, whereas the ruling party headed by Chief Minister K.Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O.Panneerselvam were seen as submissive to the central government,” political analyst Jhon Arokiasamy told IANS.
He said that the AIADMK cadres seems to have made up their mind to exercise their franchise against the ruling group in order to protect the party’s “very existence”. “The government and the party under current leadership is seen as subservient to the Central government. And if this continues, there will be no AIADMK. The cadres at the grass root level want the party to exist,” Arokiasamy said. He said this aspect was drilled into the minds of AIADMK cadres in R.K.Nagar constituency during the door-to-door campaign by Dinakaran supporters. According to Arokiasamy, the party cadres do not see mass leadership trait in the current AIADMK leadership. “Earlier they bowed to late Chief Minister J.Jayalalithaa and her close aide (and now jailed) V.K.Sasikala. Now they are bowing to BJP,” he said.
Arokiasamy said Dinakaran supporter P. Vetrivel’s releasing of a video clip of Jayalalithaa purportedly on her hospital bed was a master-stroke, as it sort of absolved the Sasikala-Dinakaran camp of the earlier campaign about Jayalalithaa’s health condition in Apollo Hospital. “Six months back, the cadres would not have gone to back Dinakaran, but now he is seen as a the party’s strengthening factor,” Ramu Manivannan, a Professor of Political Science at the University of Madras, told IANS. “The victory of Dinakaran is a bigger setback for DMK as the party was supported by several other parties in this election. Further DMK has 89 legislators in the assembly and losing out to an independent candidate and get ranked third in the election is not an acceptable one,” he added.
DMK leader M.K.Stalin seems to be not putting his resources in place and effectively using the 87 legislators – excluding him and his father and DMK President M.Karunanidhi, Manivannan added. “The DMK has failed to cash on the vacuum in the leadership in AIADMK. An independent candidate has eaten into DMK’s vote share is something serious for the party to ponder over,” Arokiasamy added. The by-poll was held on Dec 21, 2017, the day on which DMK Rajya Sabha member Kanimozhi and former Telecom Minister A.Raja were acquitted in the 2G spectrum allocation case. The acquittal of the two leaders from the case that shook the nation seems to have nil impact on the R.K. Nagar voters to favour DMK.
“On the other hand, it seems to have worked in favour of Dinakaran. He is fighting the central and the state government. Late Chief Minister J.Jayalalithaa and her close aide V.K.Sasikala (Dinakaran’s aunt) were convicted in a corruption case. Now Sasikala is in jail. The ruling AIADMK is bowing to the central government,” Arokiasamy said.The allocation of two leaves symbol by the Election Commission to the AIADMK ahead of the by-poll after it was freezing it for couple of months has not helped the ruling party.
“People saw the candidate and not the poll symbol,” Dinakaran told reporters in Madurai. He also predicted that the government headed by Palaniswami will fall in three months time. The bypoll was necessitated following the death of AIADMK and former Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa on December 5, 2016, who represented the seat. Counting of votes began on Sunday morning and from the start Dinakaran built a considerable lead over major rivals, AIADMK’s E.Madhusudhanan, DMK’s N.Marudhu Ganesh. Messages were spread on social media, punning on the candidates’ election symbols. One said: ‘Two leaves wilts, Lotus got burnt and Rising Sun did not rise. But the whistle of Pressure Cooker is deafening.”Two leaves is AIADMK’s symbol, lotus is BJP’s symbol, rising sun is of DMK and pressure cooker is for Dinakaran.