For Jayalalithaa's Chennai Seat, Her Family In Race With Sasikala's

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For Jayalalithaa's Chennai Seat, Her Family In Race With Sasikala's

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Chennai's RK Nagar constituency had fallen vacant after the death of J Jayalalithaa.

Chennai: 

Highlights

  1. Prestigious RK Nagar constituency fell vacant after Jayalalithaa's death
  2. VK Sasikala's nephew TTV Dinakaran is AIADMK candidate for the seat
  3. Jayalalithaa's niece Deepa Jayakumar is contesting against him
Chennai's RK Nagar - the constituency of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa which fell vacant after her death -- is up for grabs and it promises to be a riveting battle where her niece is pitted against the nephew of her longtime companion VK Sasikala. The countdown has already started for the big fight, which will be held on April 12.

TTV Dinakaran, 53, is the AIADMK's official candidate, who was expelled by Ms Jayalalithaa in 2011 after her famous fight with Ms Sasikala. In 2012 Ms Jayalalithaa had readmitted Ms Sasikala but not him. After Jayaalalithaa died,  Ms Sasikala brought  in Mr Dinakaran and elevated him to the post of the Deputy General Secretary on the day she went to the Bengaluru jail following her conviction in the 20 year old assets case.  

Ms Sasikala had led the party after the death of Ms Jayalalithaa, and her bid to become the state's Chief Minister ended after her conviction by the Supreme Court.  But even from jail, she is seen as controlling the party and the state through her chosen nominees -- Mr Dinakaran and E Palaniswami.

Her elevation by the party had been roundly criticized by Deepa Jayakumar - Ms Jayalalithaa's niece. The 43-year-old former journalist who claims to be the former Chief Minister's political heir, had vowed on her aunt's 69th birthday in February to "retrieve the two leaves symbol" of the AIADMK.

While she met former Chief Minister O Panneerselvam in the days after his rebellion against Ms Sasikala last month, Ms Jayakumar has decided to go it alone in the polls. Recently, she had launched her own forum - a non-political one, as she stressed.

The AIADMK faction led by O Panneerselvam, which is yet to announce a candidate, meanwhile, is trying to grab the party's election symbol - its most precious asset -- claiming they are the "original AIADMK".  The former Chief Minister, who had rebelled against Ms Sasikala days after stepping down from the post, has approached the Election Commission asking that the symbol be assigned to him, his aides have said.

Mr Dinakaran told NDTV that there are "no factions" in the party. "Only a few have  a left the  party. I'd win with a huge margin, with  at least 50000 votes". Asked if this was the first step towards his elevation as the Chief Minister, Mr Dinakaran, who had been elected to parliament in 1999 and  nominated to the upper house, said, "No. This is my debut as MLA. I'd work to fulfill my leader Jayalalithaa's plans".

The DMK has fielded Marudhu Ganesh as its candidate for RK Nagar.

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