54-year-old Dhinakaran, who is contesting as an Independent candidate, is leading by a big margin followed by the ruling AIADMK's E Madhusudhnan; DMK candidate Marudhu Ganesh is trailing at number 3 after five rounds of counting. With Mr Ganesh, as its candidate, the DMK had hoped to send a message to the party cadre that ordinary workers too could rise to important positions in the party. Mr Ganesh comes from a family of DMK card holders; his mother was a municipal councilor between 1996 and 2001 when DMK working president Mr Stalin was the mayor.
Mr Ganesh's chances of winning were the brightest during the cancelled round of by-polls in April when the DMK had hoped the AIADMK votes would split between the two factions led by Chief Minister E Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam; the two sides merged in August this year. But the election was cancelled by the Election Commission after videos showing cash being paid to voters had emerged.
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