TTV Dinakaran is the candidate of the VK Sasikala faction for the RK Nagar constituency.
With just 20 days to go for the by-elections in Chennai's RK Nagar, AIADMK's Sasikala faction was asked to use a new party name and a symbol by the Election Commission. Given a choice between an auto rickshaw and a hat, they insisted on the latter. Today, the new poll symbol was seen perched on the head of TTV Dinakaran, when the candidate for the newly christened "AIADMK Amma" filed his nomination for the seat.
The AIADMK treasurer, who is also Ms Sasikala's nephew, explained the significance of their choice of poll symbol. The hat, he said, is the symbol of party founder MG Ramachandran. One of the silver screen icons of that era in Tamil Nadu, MGR, as he was popularly known, had donned the hat in many of his movies. For the voters, it would be an easy association to make, Mr Dinakaran insisted.
"I would win. We would win the symbol and the party too," added Mr Dinakaran. The 53-year-old had been expelled by Ms Jayalalithaa and made a triumphant return only after her death. Today, contesting for the seat which had been left vacant after her death, he said, "I'd fulfil Amma's dreams for RK Nagar".
Mr Dinakaran had been re-inducted by Ms Sasikala, who is currently in Bengaluru jail, after the Supreme Court convicted her in a 20-year-old assets case. She is seen as controlling both the party and the government from jail through her chosen nominees -- Mr Dinakaran and E Palaniswami, who is now the Chief Minister.
Asked if Ms Sasikala's being in jail was a setback for the party, the two-time parliamentarian said, "Not really... Not all in jail are culprits and not all outside are innocent. It's a case of vendetta".
Would he become Chief Minister if the AIADMK ministers ask him to? "I'd be just an MLA. Ask me if it happens," Mr Dinakaran replied.