CHENNAI: The result of the by-election for Chennai's RK Nagar assembly constituency, which fell vacant after the death of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, was announced on Sunday.
Independent candidate TTV Dhinakaran, who was sidelined from the AIADMK, won the much-sought-after constituency, taking a virtually unassailable lead of over 40,000 votes against his AIADMK rival E Madhusudhanan at the end of the counting.
As per a report, Dhinakaran bagged at least 89,013 votesvotes while AIADMK veteran Madhusudhanan got 48,306 votes. DMK's N Maruthu Ganesh got received 24,651 votes, leaving him a distant third among the 59 candidates.
Official EC Final Result: TTV #Dhinakaran at 89013 votes, #AIADMK's E. Madhusudhanan at 48306 votes, #DMK's N. Marudhu Ganesh at 24651, #BJP's Karu Nagarajan at 1417 votes at the end of counting. #Dhinakaran wins by 40707 votes #RKNagarElectionResult pic.twitter.com/01g7Qknx1h
— ANI (@ANI) December 24, 2017
Incidentally, NOTA (None of The Above) pipped BJP candidate Karu Nagarajan, as 2,203 voters preferred it to the saffron party's candidate who only received 1,417 votes.
Earlier, Dhinakaran, who lost the AIADMK symbol to the E Palaniswami-O Panneerselvam faction, had announced to contest the election as an independent candidate and was allotted a 'pressure cooker' symbol for the same.
The RK Nagar constituency went to polls on December 21, necessitated by the death of former chief minister J Jayalalithaa in December last year. The election was speculated to be a litmus test for the leadership of Panneerselvam and Palaniswami who took over the reins of AIADMK after her.
A beaming Dhinakaran told reporters in Madurai, "We are the true AIADMK...People of RK Nagar have elected Amma's successor". "The surging leads show that people want a change of regime," he said, taking a dig at the AIADMK government headed by Chief Minister K Palaniswami.
"During my recent visits to various parts of Tamil Nadu such as Avinashi (Tirupur) and Arumanai (Kanyakumari), people said the 'pressure cooker' (his poll symbol at RK Nagar) will win. They want a change of this regime," Dhinakaran said.
"This is the best gift for the 1.5 crore party supporters" he said.
On the AIADMK party symbol issue wherein the Election Commission awarded it to the Palaniswamy-led camp recently, Dhinakaran said "only a candidate determines the symbol".
"We are the true AIADMK. A candidate determines the symbol. I have already said the 'two leaves' will be a success symbol only if it was with Puratchi Thalaivar (MGR) and Amma (Jayalalithaa). Will the people vote if it is handed over to MN Nambiar and P S Veerappa," he asked, amidst chuckles from his supporters.
Earlier in the day, counting of votes suffered a temporary disruption following an alleged altercation between supporters of Dhinakaran and Madhusudhanan. A senior electoral official said the "altercation caused disruption," even as the two sides charged each other with roughing up counting agents.
Another official said the police restored peace and that the second round of counting was on.
The election was earlier scheduled on April 12 but was cancelled following vote-for-cash scam.