More than a month after splitting from the ruling AIADMK, former Chief Minister O Panneerselvam has announced that expelled party Presidium Chairman E Madhusudhanan would be the candidate of the anti-Sasikala faction for the RK Nagar bye-poll.
With this announcement, the April 12 bye-poll opens up to a multi-cornered fight for late Chief Minister Jayalalithaaâ€™s legacy, who was twice elected from RK Nagar.
Madhusudhanan, an MGR loyalist, is a recognised face in the North Chennai constituency, having been elected as an MLA in RK Nagar in 1991.
He is a veteran leader of the AIADMK and served as Textile Minister during Jayalalithaaâ€™s first term as Chief Minister between 1991 and 1996. He had been convicted in the free dhoti scam in 1991, but was later acquitted.
Madhusudhanan was Presidium Chairman of the AIADMK from 2010 until he was expelled by AIADMK General Secretary VK Sasikala in February for defecting to OPSâ€™s camp.
His candidature comes a day after AIADMKâ€™s Deputy General Secretary and VK Sasikalaâ€™s nephew TTV Dhinakaran announced that he would contest the bye-poll.
The opposition DMK had, in a surprise announcement, chosen to field its RK Nagar East Division Secretary Marudhu Ganesh for the bye-election.
Jayalalithaaâ€™s niece Deepa Jayakumar has also thrown her hat in the ring, stating she would make her political debut by contesting in the bye-poll.
The ruling AIADMK faces the threat of having its two-leaves symbol frozen by the Election Commission with the OPS faction staking claim to the symbol. Dhinakaran also faces the challenge of having the partyâ€™s vote share split three ways.