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                                                Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) general secretary TTV Dhinakaran files his nomination from Kovilpatti assembly constituency for upcoming elections. (PTI)
                                                Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) general secretary TTV Dhinakaran files his nomination from Kovilpatti assembly constituency for upcoming elections. (PTI)

                                                andar bahar app,joyplus rummy,teen patti table,For AMMK’s Dhinakaran, a battle for political survival

                                                Years after ruling AIADMK expelled him from the party, the AMMK’s chief ministerial candidate is hoping to overcome the outsider tag in Kovilpatti

                                                              By Divya Chandrababu

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                                                                PUBLISHED ON APR 02, 2021 06:17 PM IST

                                                                    On a particularly hot day, vans mostly belonging to Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) played a recorded message seeking votes in Tamil Nadu’s Kovilpatti. Kovilpatti has attracted much interest since AMMK founder TTV Dhinakaran decided to contest from here even as he won Chennai’s RK Nagar seat in 2017.

                                                                    Dhinakaran is battling for survival years after ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) expelled him from the party. The AMMK’s chief ministerial candidate is hoping to overcome the outsider tag in Kovilpatti. That is not the only challenge he faces. He is up against Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPI (M) candidate K Srinivasan, who has worked in Kovilpatti for over 40 years, and AIADMK minister Kadambur Raju.

                                                                    1. The Communist Party of India has won the seat seven times and Srinivasan has worked for the welfare of matchstick-making factory workers in the area.

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                                                                      But the AMMK leader seems to enjoy the support of Kovilpatti’s Thevar community. Auto driver M Murugan, who is a part of a labour union and has been a traditional Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) voter, said he will vote for Dhinakaran. Murugan has benefited from Srinivasan’s work yet he will not vote for the DMK ally because of the caste factor.

                                                                    3. “You want to know why I am shifting from DMK? It is for the community,” said Murugan. He recalled Srinivasan rallied support for the auto drivers in demanding better roads. “Because of that, the government at least paved the path with gravel and sand,” said Murugan, who wants to give Dhinakaran a chance.

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                                                                        1. “I know we can meet Srinivasan any time and we can never meet Dhinakaran but Kovilpatti has been ruled by the Naicker community and we want to see a change with Thevars.” He said if DMK had fielded a Thevar candidate, he would not have shifted allegiances.

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                                                                            Srinivasan said Kovilpatti has a character; it protests for rights. “Caste politics will not work here.” He said his campaign focuses on employment, education, and health.

                                                                              • Raju and Srinivasan both belong to the Naicker community.

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                                                                                    Businessman S Subramani said he wants to stay away from caste politics and wants Raju to win again. “Srinivasan is a good man but may not have a voice... TTV is an outsider from Madras [Chennai],” said Subramani.

                                                                                            Many say Raju has done good work and upgraded government hospitals, established new government buildings, and improved roads. “There is no problem or disturbance with the AIADMK. So, we would like them to continue,” said Jagadeesan, a hotelier.

                                                                                                1. Raju won the 2016 assembly election by a wafer-thin margin of 428 votes.

                                                                                                  1. Also Read | Raiding opposition is BJP’s coping mechanism when facing defeat: Rahul Gandhi

                                                                                                        Dhinakaran’s team is focussing on a lack of basic amenities in the constituency. Its campaign has positioned Dhinakaran as the true heir to late former chief minister J Jayalalithaa. His party is named after her and her image dominates its flag.

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                                                                                                          SVSP Manickaraja was to contest from Kovilpatti before Dhinakaran chose to file his nomination papers. Dhinakaran last month said that while he is in Chennai, it would be Manickaraja who would run the show.

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                                                                                                            Manickaraja is a landowner and locals call him zamindar and thanks to him AMMK has a strong base here. AMMK candidates won 10 out of 16 seats in the Kayathar panchayat union polls here in 2020. The party polled 19,478 votes in the Kovilpatti assembly segment in the 2019 parliamentary elections.

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                                                                                                              “He [Dhinakaran] has been elected from the southern district before, so it is not right to call him an outsider and people are familiar with his work,” said AMMK leader R Karthik. “His entry has made this a star constituency and he will win with a bigger margin than RK Nagar.”

                                                                                                                    1. In 1999, Dhinakaran won the Periyakulam Lok Sabha constituency from the southern district of Theni.

                                                                                                                              In 2017, he won the RK Nagar by-poll surpassing Jayalalithaa’s margin, and pedestalised himself as a lone challenger to the major political players in the state. He also became the first independent candidate to win an assembly by-poll even as the election was postponed twice over allegations of cash distribution among voters.

                                                                                                                              • Dhinakaran was unable to keep up the momentum when he floated the AMMK in 2018 with a breakaway faction of Jayalalithaa’s close aide Sasikala supporters. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, AMMK did not win even a single seat. It got a 5% vote share, eating into the vote base of the AIADMK.

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                                                                                                                                            1. Dhinakaran and Sasikala were expelled from AIADMK in September 2017 after her imprisonment in a disproportionate assets case.

                                                                                                                                            2. Deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam, who officiated when Jayalalithaa was ill and eventually after her death, resigned to make way for Sasikala after she became the AIADMK’s interim general secretary. Panneerselvam revolted against Sasikala. Hours before Sasikala was imprisoned, she made Dhinakaran the party’s deputy general secretary and handpicked Edappadi K Palaniswami to be the chief minister.

                                                                                                                                                1. The warring factions of Palaniswami and Panneerselvam joined hands and have since kept Sasikala and her family away from AIADMK.

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