Chennai: Hundreds of people came out on the streets of RK Nagar in Chennai as their newly elected legislator TTV Dhinakaran went on a victory march on former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa's home turf. In the recent by-election, he defeated the ruling AIADMK by 40,000 votes. Music, drum beats and dance were present along his route as he returned to the constituency for the first time after the electoral win.
Staking claim to Ms Jayalalithaa's legacy for the first time, Mr Dhinakaran said the AIADMK government will fall in three months. "The disqualification case is in court and whenever the verdict is out the EPS (E Palaniswami) government would not be able to prove its majority and it would fall and we would have fresh elections," he said.
It's after almost two decades that an opposition candidate, leave alone an independent, has won a by-election. Though the ruling AIADMK got back the two-leaves election symbol, Mr Dhinakaran won after fighting with the pressure cooker symbol as an independent. "People look at the candidate and not the symbol blindly. From day one, voters were clear to elect me," Mr Dhinakaran said.
Mr Dinakaran, nephew of jailed AIADMK leader VK Sasikala, is still battling a CBI case for allegedly attempting to bribe Election Commission officials in a bid to take the two-leaves symbol. The 18 legislators supporting him remain disqualified. They are fighting it out legally.
Rattled by Mr Dhinakaran's win, Chief Minister E Palaniswami and his deputy O Panneerselvam have briefed their lawmakers on their strategy in dealing with the RK Nagar debacle and their former boss Mr Dhinakaran in the assembly session that begins on January 8.
Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar, however, said, "A lone tree can't become a grove. We are not worried."