Trouble seems to be perennially following TTV Dinakaran when it comes to the RK Nagar byelection, which needs to be held to fill the void in the Tamil Nadu Assembly that fell vacant when AIADMK chief and state chief minister J Jayalalithaa died on December 5, 2016.
The Election Commission (EC) on Wednesday, December 20, ordered an FIR over the release of a video of Jayalalithaa — apparently shot during her stay in the Apollo Hospital in Chennai, where she breathed her last — just one day before the RK Nagar byelection was to be held.
The FIR under Section 126 of the Representation of People (RP) Act was subsequently registered against Dinakaran's aide P Vetrivel at the Washermenpet police station of the RK Nagar constituency, according to the Republic TV.
The EC has also reportedly said that the release of the video is a violation of the Model Code of Conduct that is in place in the run-up to the election. It has also barred news outlets from airing the clip or parts of it that may "directly or indirectly" affect the outcome of the polls by influencing voters who see it.
Dinakaran — the nephew of VK Sasikala — is already facing legal hassles after being accused of trying to bribe the Election Commission (EC) to get the traditional Two Leaves symbol of the AIADMK for what was his aunt's faction of the party in April this year. The bypoll had to be cancelled back then because of the bribery allegations levelled against Dinakaran.
Jaya shadow on bypoll
The fight for the RK Nagar seat has become more of a prestige issue and a battle for Jayalalithaa's legacy than occupying another seat in the TN Assembly. And there are multiple claimants to that legacy.
In the days immediately after Jayalalithaa's death, that claimant was her close aide VK Sasikala or Sasikala Natarajan. She was soon given the moniker Chinnamma — Jayalalithaa was Amma or mother — and asked by many members of the AIADMK to take over the party's reins as well as the post of chief minister.
Instead, it was O Panneerselvam — often identified by his initials OPS — who was appointed TN chief minister after Jayalalithaa's death. However, Sasikala — once expelled from the AIADMK along with her kin because Jayalalithaa had suspected that she was looking to usurp power both in the party and the state — showed her true colours and forced OPS out of the post as well as the party. Some AIADMK leaders followed in OPS' footsteps.
Then again, she did not get to lord over her new domain either. Sasikala was sent to the Parappana Agrahara Central Prison in Bengaluru to serve out the rest of the sentence she was given after her conviction in a disproportionate assets case.
Therefore, she left Dinakaran at a top post within the party, and with Edappadi Palaniswami — or EPS — as chief minister. However, in her absence, and with Dinakaran tied up in legal hassles over the bribery allegaions, the EPS and the OPS factions merged, and also managed to get the Two Leaves election symbol.