TTV Dhinakaran takes oath as MLA: Sidelined AIADMK leader becomes first Independent legislator from RK Nagar

Having clinched an emphatic win in the RK Nagar Assembly bypoll, sidelined AIADMK leader TTV Dhinakaran formally took charge as an MLA in the Tamil Nadu Secretariat on Friday.

The newly-elected MLA was sworn-in as a member of the 15th Assembly by Speaker P Dhanapal in his (Speaker's) office around 1.30 pm on Friday. After the swearing-in ceremony, Dhinakaran criticised "five or six" AIADMK members for working for their "own selfish motive".

Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam refused to comment on Dhinakaran's "dream" of the Tamil Nadu government falling.

Dhinakaran had called on his aunt and sidelined party leader VK Sasikala at the Parappana Agrahara jail in Bengaluru on Thursday. "The meeting lasted for about half an hour, but Sasikala did not speak throughout the meeting as she is observing a maun vrat (vow of silence)," All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) state secretary V Pugazhendhi told IANS quoting Dhinakaran.

Dhinakaran won the RK Nagar bypoll on 24 December by a thumping margin of over 40,000 votes, defeating AIADMKs' E Madhusudanan and DMK candidate N Maruthu Ganesh, who came in second and third place.

 TTV Dhinakaran takes oath as MLA: Sidelined AIADMK leader becomes first Independent legislator from RK Nagar

File image of TTV Dhinakaran. PTI

He became the first Independent candidate to win from RK Nagar. He managed to do so with a huge margin, even bigger than the victory margin managed by former chief minister J Jayalalithaa in the 2016 Assembly polls.

In that election, Jayalalithaa had won by a 39,545-vote margin, defeating DMK's Shimla Muthuchozhan. While Jayalalithaa secured 97,218 votes, the DMK candidate garnered 57,673 votes.

The bypoll was held to fill the vacancy caused by Jayalalithaa's death.

Furthermore, Dhinakaran's victory came despite the loss of the 'two leaves' symbol and a slew of cases against him, which is a worrying development for both the AIADMK and the Opposition DMK party.

After Chief Minister E Palaniswamy joined hands with his predecessor O Panneerselvam, Dhinakaran had vowed to unseat the regime, accusing the EPS-OPS camp of having betrayed the faith reposed in them by jailed party leader Jayalalithaa's aide VK Sasikala.

The suave Dhinakaran was handpicked by Sasikala to lead the party when she went to the Parapana Agrahara Jail in Bengaluru to serve a four-year jail term in a disproportionate assets case in February this year.

Dhinakaran is not new to electoral politics. He was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1999 from Periyakulam and to the Rajya Sabha in 2004. Known for his brilliant organisation skills, he was a key player in party appointments, albeit from behind the screens and during parleys with allies at the time of elections.

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: Dec 29, 2017 16:12:55 IST