45 views 6 mins 0 Comment

NDA candidate TTV Dhinakaran has an edge at Theni Lok Sabha seat

- April 11, 2024
TTV Dhinakaran

Chennai, April 11 (IANS)

The Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) general secretary and former Periyankulam MP of AIADMK, TTV Dhinakaran has an edge at the Theni Lok Sabha seat in the ensuing general elections.

Dhinakaran and his AMMK are part of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in Tamil Nadu and the front is expecting him to win the seat.

The DMK candidate Thanga Tamil Selvan and AIADMK leader VT Narayanasamy are in the fray in this constituency which was the only seat in Tamil Nadu that went along with the AIADMK thus denying the DMK a total sweep.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the AIADMK leader, P. Raveendranathan won the seat by a margin of 76,693 votes defeating the Congress leader and former Union minister EVKS Elangovan.

In the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, TTV Dhinakaran contesting on the Pressure Cooker symbol has an edge as he is popular in the constituency and the AIADMK has fielded a weak candidate in V. Narayanasamy.

The DMK candidate Thanga Tamil Selvan was in the AIADMK and was once a close associate of TTV Dhinakaran and a blue-eyed boy of Jayalalithaa. He is now the Theni south district secretary of the DMK and is from the powerful Thevar community just like TTV Dhinakaran.

The Theni constituency has Sholavandan, Usilampatti, Andipatti, Periyakulam, Bodinayakanur, and Cumbum assembly seats. DMK won Sholavandan, Andipatti, Periyakulam, and Cumbum seats while AIADMK won Usilampatti and Bodinayakanur seats.

In the 2021 assembly elections, DMK candidate A. Venkatesan won by a margin of 17,045 votes in the Sholavandan assembly seat while in Usilampatti the AIADMK leader P.Ayyappan won the seat by a margin of 7477 votes.

Andipatti seat was won by the DMK leader A. Maharajan by a margin of 8538 votes. The Periyakulam assembly seat in the 2021 assembly elections was won by K.S. Saravanakumar by a margin of 21,321 votes while the Bodinayakanur assembly seat was won by the AIADMK candidate and former Chief Minister, O. Panneerselvam by a margin of 11,021 votes.

The Cumbum seat was won by the DMK leader N. Eramakrishnan by a margin of 42,413 votes.

While the results of the assembly seats show an edge for DMK, in Lok Sabha situation is different and Dhinakaran has an edge in the constituency.

Moreover, O. Paneerselvam (OPS), sitting MLA from Bodinayakanur and former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and the NDA candidate from Ramanathapuram Lok Sabha constituency, and his son and former MP, P. Raveendranathan are very powerful in the Thevar community and this base is also used to support the campaign of TTV Dhinakaran.

Dhinakaran while speaking to IANS said, “ The Theni seat was previously Periyakulam Lok Sabha seat and I was an elected MP from this seat. I know people across the constituency and the presence of OPS and his son and former MP, P. Raveendranathan is helping my candidature. I have high hopes of winning the seat and in the days to come our campaign will accelerate and we will have the advantage.”

R. Nagarajan, an AIADMK worker who has just joined AMMK while speaking to IANS said, “ Dhinakaran was very powerful during the days of Amma Jayalalithaa as Chief Minister. Many people have benefitted from Dhinakaran in this constituency and naturally, several neutral voters will shift their allegiance to him. Other than this the Thevar community which has always been supportive of AIADMK will throw their weight behind Dhinakaran and the most powerful Thevar face, OPS have also supported him and Dhinakaran has a good lead here.”

While Thanga Tamil Selvan is also from the Thevar community, he is a DMK candidate, and hence the community is apprehensive of extending its support to him. Dhinakaran and his aunt VK Shashikala- the former aide of late Jayalalithaa, also have an intense personal rapport with the Thevar community.

The AIADMK candidate, V. Narayanasamy is considered a weak candidate and hence the fight is mostly between Thanga Tamil Selvan and TTV Dhinakaran.

Thanga Tamil Selvan while speaking to IANS said, “ The fight here is between DMK and AIADMK just like across Tamil Nadu. TTV Dhinakaran will finish a poor third here and DMK will win the seat.”

R. Shakthivel, a political analyst based out of Tirunelveli and doing extensive studies on the politics of South Tamil Nadu while speaking to IANS said, “ In South Tamil Nadu, the Thevar community has a major say and in Theni its presence is huge. While both TTV Dhinakaran and Thanga Tamil Selvan belong to the community, there are several commitments towards Dhinakaran as he was a major power centre during the Jayalalithaa regime and had helped the Thevar community during that regime. Naturally, the community will throw their weight behind him, maybe except die-hard cadres of DMK.”

He said that the constituency was witnessing a tough battle as both the DMK and the NDA are in a neck-and-neck race here.

With only a week of extensive campaign remaining, the candidates are leaving no stone unturned to win the Theni seat.