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T T V Dhinakaran, nephew of V K Sasikala, has won the byelection in Dr Radhakrishnan Nagar Assembly constituency with a lead of around 40,707 votes against the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) canditdate, and much ahead of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) candidate, at the end of the final round of counting. The competition was between the AIADMK candidate E Madhusudhanan and Dhinakaran, while the main opposition DMK was far behind the race compared to these two candidates.
The counting, which has been held in a total of 19 rounds across 258 booths each having 14 electronic voting machines, started on Sunday morning. The by-election was held for the Assembly seat that fell vacant after the demise of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.
Dhinakaran, who competed as an independent candidate after the Edappadi K Palaniswami-O Panneerselvam faction of AIADMK won the Two Leaves symbol, has established his lead right from the first round of counting.Supporters of sidelined AIADMK leader T T V Dhinakaran celebrate after he established a decisive lead during the counting of votes for RK Nagar bypoll, outside the counting centre in Chennai (Photo: PTI)
At the end of the final round of counting Dhinakaran secured 89,013 votes out of the total 1,76,890 votes, as against 48,306 votes for E Madhusudhanan, a senior leader of AIADMK, and 24,651 votes for N Maruthu Ganesh of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK). Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Karu Nagarajan secured 1,417 votes, while None of the Above (NOTA) was opted by 2373 voters.
The success of Dhinakaran comes as a setback to the ruling AIADMK. The Palaniswami-Pannerselvam faction has expelled him from the party a few months back as part of distancing themselves from the Sasikala faction.
Dhinakaran told reporters that the people of Tamil Nadu have communicated through the voters in R K Nagar.
He added that the current government led by Edappadi K Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam will not last for more than three months.
His residence in Chennai saw his supporters celebrating the victory even after the first few rounds of counting, while the party office of AIADMK and the residence of Palaniswami and Panneerselvam were gloomy.
The victory to Dhinakaran comes despite the Income Tax raids across various premises connected to Sasikala recently and various allegations fielded by the opposition party. Dhinakaran has been alleging that there has been widespread money distribution by the ruling faction, to the tune of around Rs 120 crore, during the campaign for the by-election held on December 21, 2017. His faction released a video of Jayalalithaa claimed to be shot during her hospitalisation in Apollo Hospitals, a day before the polling took place.
DMK, which has received a favourable order in the 2G Spectrum Scam from a CBI Court on the day of polling, was expecting larger number of votes in the by-election, though it said that the verdict will not have any impact on this election.
The by-poll has seen the total polling going up to 77.5 per cent this time, highest from the constituency since the elections in 2011. Even the byelection held in 2015, when former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa contested, the percentage of polling was 74.59 per cent, according to the Election Commission data.