R K Nagar by-election a litmus test for TN Govt

S Murari

The by-election to the R K Nagar constituency in Chennai to be held in the next couple of months will be a litmus test of the legitimacy of the Edappadi K Palanisamy Government. Chief Election Commissioner A K Joti has announced that the by-election will be held before Dec 31.

R K Nagar will be the first by-election the ruling party will be facing since the death of party general secretary and Chief Minister J Jayalalitha on Dec 5 last year. It was her constituency and it has been lying vacant since her passing away.

It will be the first election that the Government will be facing after the merger of the Edappadi and O Pannerselvam factions of the AIADMK in August.

When the election was scheduled in April, ousted AIADMK deputy general secretary Dinakaran threw his hat in the ring splurging money on voters to ensure his win so that he could take over from Chief Minister Edappadi K Palanisamy then seen as a puppet of Sasikala.

Following complaints of large-scale distribution of money for voters, the Election Commission rescinded the election.

K Pugeshendhi, supporter of Dinakaran has said he will contest from there again as he was the official candidate of the AIDMK Amma. The merged AIADMK is expected to retain presidium chairman E. Madhusudhanan.

In April, Dinakaran was opposed by the DMK as well as the CPM . The DMK’s working president M K Stalin has since been campaigning for the ouster of the Government on the ground it has been staying in power through horse-trading. Such being his view it remains to be seen whether the DMK will enter the by-election more so as R K Nagar is seen as a fortress of the AIADMK.

Dravidar Marumalarchi Munnetra Kazhagam(DMDK) leader Vijayakanth has said his party will not contest as this government will not last and there will be general election in the State.