Top Sasikala aide TTV Dinakaran on Sunday won the by-election for the Radhakrishnan Nagar (RK Nagar) constituency, defeating his nearest rival, E Madhusudhanan of the AIADMK by a margin of over 40,000 votes.
Dinakaran, who was contesting as an Independent, secured around 89,000 votes.
The seat had fallen vacant after the death of its sitting member, late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, on December 5, 2016.
Dinakaran maintained lead throughout the counting. At the end of round 18 of counting, Dinakaran was leading with 86,472 votes against AIADMK’s E Madhusudhanan’s 47,115 votes. DMK's N Marudhu Ganesh may end up losing his deposit.
A total 1,76,885 votes were polled in the bye-election held on December 21.
The counting of votes for the by-election to late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s constituency, Radhakrishnan Nagar – popularly known as RK Nagar – in Chennai began at sharp 8 am on Monday morning. Counting of votes began at the counting centre at Queen Mary’s college amid elaborate security arrangements.
“I am an independent candidate for namesake but all Party (AIADMK) workers are with me. I also have Amma's wishes,” Dinakaran said in Chennai.
The counting will take place in 19 rounds and 100 counting personnel have been deployed in the process. Each counting table shall have one micro-observer apart from counting staff.
At the end of eleventh round of counting, Dinakaran was leading with 54,315 votes against Madhusudhanan’s 27,937 votes and Marudhu Ganesh’s 14,481 votes.
Counting of votes was briefly halted on the orders of Returning Officer after TTV supporters alleged being attacked by AIADMK workers. A Dhinakaran supporter alleged AIADMK workers hit him inside the counting centre. An AIADMK supporter was forcibly evicted by the cops for hitting him. Later a woman supporter was also dragged out of the counting centre by cops.
The final result is expected by evening today.
Counting of votes is being webcast live from the centre and is being monitored by the Election Commission of India from New Delhi. The counting is also being monitored from the Tamil Nadu secretariat complex by senior bureaucrats of the state administration.
The election is primarily seen as a contest between sidelined AIADMK leader and Sasikala’s top aide TTV Dinakaran and the merged faction of CM E Palaniswami and his deputy O Panneerselvam.
The result is crucial as it will decide the true claimant to the political legacy of Jayalalithaa, whose death last year necessitated the by-election.
While Dinakaran has contested as an Independent candidate, the EPS-OPS faction had fielded E Madhusudhanan. The DMK, too, tried to make it a triangular contest, fielding N Maruthu Ganesh.
Voting of the Radhakrishnan Nagar (R.K.Nagar) Assembly by-poll on Thursday saw 78 per cent out of over two lakh voters exercising their democratic right, the Election Commission said.
One of the small constituencies in the state, around 1.77 lakh voted, sealing the electoral fate of 59 contenders.
The major contenders are AIADMK's E. Madhusudhanan, DMK's N. Marudhu Ganesh, T.T.V. Dinakaran -- contesting as an Independent -- and Bharatiya Janata Party's K. Nagarajan.
Although the poll was first scheduled to be held in April, it was cancelled due to complaints of large-scale voter bribing by a candidate.