Soon after the Election Commission of India announced the by-election to Dr. Radhakrishnan Nagar constituency in Chennai to be held on June 27, from where Chief Minister Jayalaithaa is expected to contest polls, DMK party supremo M Karunanidhi announced his party’s decision to stay away from the by-election. Dr. Radhakrishnan Nagar Assembly constituency, barely seven kilometers away from the city of Chennai, with 230 polling stations, is considered to be an AIADMK bastion since 2000. The seat fell vacant following the resignation of the sitting MLA P. Vetrivel to facilitate the election of Ms. Jayalalithaa, who has been acquitted by the Karnataka High Court from the disproportionate assets case on May 11.
Radhakrishnan Nagar constituency is one of the smallest constituencies with 2.5 lakh voters, mostly women. The constituency from where Jayalalithaa is contesting polls for the first time has an estimated 15 percent of Dalit voters. M. Karunanidhi after announcing his party’s decision to boycott by-election has said that he is sceptical about the manner in which the by-election would be conducted, when those in power have huge influence over judiciary and the Election Commission. At the same time, it is rumored that the decision to back out from by-election is based on the improbability of opposition parties to win contesting against the ruling party’s most prestigious candidate. The last date of filing nominations is June 10, while the results will be announced on June 30th.
There were allegations of large-scale use of money power by both AIADMK and DMK in the last by-election conducted at Srirangam constituency, when the seat fell vacant after the disqualification of Jayalalithaa in the assets disproportionate case. However, the by-election ensured a stunning victory for AIADMK candidate Valarmathi, which has proved the massive popularity of Amma.
Followed by M Karunanidhi, Viduthalai Chiruthaikal Katchi leader Thol. Thirumavalavan also said that it would be futile to fight by-election at RK Nagar constituency as the government in power would control election using money and power. BJP and CPI(M) are yet to make announcements regarding the same.