Counting to RK Nagar constituency begins

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The counting will take place in 19 rounds and 100 counting personnel have been deployed in the process.

As many as 200 officials drawn from both Central and State government services have been deputed for the exercise.

The RK Nagar constituency was represented by late J Jayalalithaa, who passed away in December a year ago.

The main contenders in the election are Madhusudhanan from the ruling AIADMK faction, Sasikala's nephew TTV Dhinakaran as an independent candidate, and Maruthu Ganesh from the main opposition, DMK.

Dhinakaran, the sidelined AIADMK leader, polled 10,391 votes as against AIADMK's E Madhusudhanan (4,520).

Initial trends indicate that TTV Dhinakaran is leading.

Elaborate security arrangements have been made in and around the college campus to ensure safe and peaceful counting by the Tamil Nadu Police. Each counting table shall have one micro-observer apart from counting staff. While Dinakaran contested as an Independent candidate, the EPS-OPS faction had fielded Madhusudhanan. N Maruthuganesh of DMK polled 1,181 votes.

The counting is expected to be over by Sunday afternoon which will decide the fate of 59 candidates who are in the fray.

The last thing Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and his deputy O Panneerselvam want is an upset in their revered leader's home turf, a constituency of over two lakh voters located in northern Chennai. Finishing second, third, or worse, in an election contested by Jayalalithaa's greatest rival, M Karunanidhi's DMK, and TTV Dhinakaran - a man she once expelled from the AIADMK - would be tremendously humiliating.

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