Dhinakaran to take on AIADMK strongman Raju from Kovilpatti

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Chennai, Mar 11 (PTI) Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam top leader and AIADMK rival, TTV Dhinakaran would contest from Kovilpatti segment in southern Tamil Nadu and take on Information Minister, Kadambur C Raju.

In the AMMK's second list of 50 candidates released on Thursday, the late AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa's confidante V K Sasikala's nephew Dhinakaran's name figures on the top.

In Kovilpatti, the AIADMK has fielded Raju who won the seat in 2011 and 2016 polls and it is considered a ruling party stronghold for at least two decades.

Dhinakaran, known as 'TTV' secured a landslide victory in the 2017 bypoll to Dr Radhakrishnan Nagar constituency here following the death of Jayalalithaa in 2016 who had represented that city segment. In RK Nagar, Dhinakaran's victory pushed the AIADMK to the second spot and DMK nomine lost his deposit.

TTV who earlier in the day asserted 'Amma's true followers will join us and Amma's party (AIADMK) will be retrieved,' has now set his eyes on Kovilpatti, about 100 kms south of Madurai in southern Tamil Nadu.

Followed by Dhinakaran, C Jayanthi Padmanaban who was disqualified as MLA in 2017 for siding with his camp has been fielded from the same Gudiyattam segment from where she was elected in 2016.

Dhinakaran has fielded candidates in Edappadi (Pookadai N Sekar) and Bodinayakanur (M Muthusamy) as well, the constituencies of Chief Minister K Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam respectively.

More disqualified MLAs inclduing M Kothandapani, T A Ezhumalai and S Mariappan Kennedy have been re-nominated from Tiruporur, Poonamallee (Reserved) and Manamadurai (Reserved) from where they were elected in 2016. They were among the 18 MLAs who were disqualified three years ago.

Former Mayor of Tirupur, A Visalakshi has been fielded from Tirupur South constituency.

Expelled AIADMK MLA, M S R Rajavarman who joined the AMMK earlier in the day has been nominated from his Sattur constituency.

After 'Ehirkottai' S G Subramanian, who was elected on the AIADMK ticket from Sattur was disqualified in 2017 following his support to Dhinakaran, Rajavarman was picked by the ruling party and he won the May 2019 bypoll.

However, due to his reported 'differences' with Minister K T Rajenthra Balaji, the AIADMK did not field him again and instead named R K Ravichandran, Virudhunagar east district secretary as its nominee from Sattur segment.

Upset over him being not nominated from Sattur, Rajavarman joined the AMMK.

Incidentally, S G Subramanian days ago rejoined the AIADMK after tendering an apology for siding with Dhinakaran.

On Wednesday, the AMMK released its first list of 15 candidates. Disqualified legislators, P Palaniappan (former Minister and fielded from Pappireddipatti), N G Parthiban (Sholinghur), R R Murugan (Harur), M Rengasamy (Papanasam in Thanjavur district) were among the nominees who found a place in the first list. PTI VGN ROH ROH