In a historic win, sidelined AIADMK leader TTV Dhinakaran won the RK Nagar byelection as an independent candidate in Tamil Nadu by a margin of 40,707 votes, defeating his nearest rival E Madhusudhanan of the AIADMK.
Dhinakaran got 89,013 votes securing 50.32 percent of the total votes polled, while Madhusudhanan polled 48,306 votes. DMK candidate N Maruthu Ganesh got only 24,651 votes and lost his deposit, The Times of India reported.
"Tamil Nadu people have spoken through RK Nagar voters. They have taught this traitor-AIADMK government a fitting lesson," Dhinakaran told reporters in Madurai earlier in the day as counting of votes progressed at Queen Mary's College in Chennai.
"We are the true AIADMK. People of RK Nagar have elected Amma's Jayalalithaa's) successor," said Dhinakaran. He further said Edappadi K Palaniswami government would fall in three months.
"We did not have any party with us. The AIADMK had police, symbol, cadres, government and even the Election Commission. The DMK had several alliance parties. But we were alone," said Divakaran, brother of jailed party leader VK Sasikala.
The RK Nagar constituency was represented by late J Jayalalithaa, who passed away in December last year. The by-election, which became a prestige battle between the two factions of the AIADMK, was held on December 21 and 77.68 percent voters exercised their franchise.
In all, 59 contestants are in the fray for the RK Nagar bypoll, but it was more of a triangular battle among Dinakaran, Ganesh and Madhusudhanan. The counting of votes began at 8 am and thousands of supporters of all these parties gathered outside the counting centre in Chennai hours before the proceedings commenced.
As per the first update, TTV Dinakaran was leading the race with 598 votes in his kitty.
At 8:30 am, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edapadi K Palanisamy, Deputy CM O Panneerselvam paid tributes to late AIADMK founder MG Ramachandran at his Marina Beach memorial on his 30th death anniversary. Later, they were also seen visiting late Chief Minister Jayalalithaa's memorial.
At 9:35 am the counting was interrupted due to clashes between Dinakaran's and the EPS-OPS factions' supporters. The counting officials were reportedly attacked by AIADMK agents, who demanded the eviction of journalists from the centre as they were spreading information about the leads.
This led to a massive fight. But the police restored peace and made way for the second round of counting.
As per the latest update at 10:14 am, TTV Dinakaran was leading with 10,391 votes in RK Nagar by-election. His supporters have already begun celebrating outside his home.
TTV Dhinakaran's supporters burst crackers outside his residence. Also, clashes are reported at the counting centre again. Referring to current trends at the counting, Dinakaran says it reflects the mood of the people of Tamil Nadu.
Dinakaran (Independent): 15,868
Madhusudhanan (AIADMK): 7,033
Maruthu Ganesh (DMK): 3,750
Fifth round of counting has completed just now and ANI tweeted: "#UPDATE Official EC trends: TTV Dhinakaran leads with 24132 total votes, AIADMKs E. Madhusudhanan 13057 votes and DMK's N. Marudhu Ganesh 6606 votes at the end of counting round 5 #RKNagarByPoll"
The sixth round of counting is completed at 1.00 pm and TTV Dhinakaran is leading the race with big margin. ANI tweeted: "#UPDATE Official EC trends: TTV Dhinakaran leads with 29255 total votes, AIADMKs E. Madhusudhanan gets 15181 votes and DMK's N. Marudhu Ganesh gets 7986 votes at the end of counting round 6 #RKNagarByPoll."
After the seventh round of counting, TTV Dinakaran is leading with 30,457 votes in RK Nagar by-election, followed by AIADMK's Madhusudhanan who has 15,949 votes and DMK's Maruthu Ganesh, who has 8364 votes.
ANI tweeted at 2.25 pm: "#UPDATE Official EC trends: TTV Dhinakaran continues to lead with 39548 total votes, AIADMKs E. Madhusudhanan gets 19525 votes and DMK's N. Marudhu Ganesh gets 10233 votes at the end of counting round 8 #RKNagarByPoll."
TTV Dhinakaran continues to lead with 48808 total votes, AIADMK's E. Madhusudhanan gets 25567 votes, DMK's N. Marudhu Ganesh gets 13015 votes at the end of counting round 10 in the RK Nagar by election