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Southern States - Tamil Nadu

Dalits favour AIADMK in Acharapakkam

By K. Manikandan

The AIADMK winner in Acharapakkam, Boovaraghamoorthy, being felicitated by party leaders. — Photo: A. Muralidharan

Kancheepuram June 2. The outcome of the byelection to the Acharapakkam (Reserve) constituency should force the PMK and the DMK to do some introspection, for they have only themselves to blame for the debacle of sorts.

The results throw in a whole gamut of issues pertaining to the voting pattern and the methods of campaign the two sides employed. First, the PMK combine was banking on the Vanniyar votes which number around 50,000. It was precisely for this reason why PMK leaders concentrated on villages in the Acharapakkam union. Further it was left to the DMK to woo Dalit voters, as even now, the results clearly showed that the Dalit votes were not coming in favour of the PMK. A major chunk of Dalits has gone entirely in favour of the AIADMK.

The campaign styles of the two fronts were a study in contrast. While the AIADMK went ahead in full speed right from day one, the PMK announced its candidate only a couple of days before the nominations closed. The AIADMK campaign was well organised and a show of heavyweights as a dozen Ministers and scores of MLAs and MPs camped in the constituency.

On the other hand, not even once did the PMK and its allies put up a combined show. Partymen belonging to the BJP and MDMK were nowhere to be seen during the campaigning.

As far as the DMK was concerned, it kept on crying hoarse. First, it was disappointed over not having been allotted the seat, and second, the elections seemed to be a tug of war between party's district leaders, who were more bothered about getting their own personal mileage through publicity rather than with putting up a good show. The allotment of seat to the PMK, and that too, to a person far away from the constituency (D. Parvendhan hails from Kancheepuram) irked many among the DMK. The young brigade of the PMK silently resented his meteoric rise in the PMK to which he defected less than a year ago from the Puratchi Bharatham.

The results also point to the sway the AIADMK has over the voters even one year after they guided the PMK to victory. Last year, the PMK candidate, A. Selvaraj, secured 54,018 votes and won with a margin of a little over 15,000 votes.

This time, the AIADMK contested on its own and fought against the DMK-PMK combine, the TMC-Congress, the Left parties and the DPI combine and still secured 55,507 votes and increased its margin to nearly 18,000 votes.

Another important factor is that the issues pertaining to the rise in the prices of essential commodities does not seem to have sunk in the minds of the voters, predominantly rural poor, forcing many to believe that the electorate of this backward region did not prefer to take the risk of voting against the ruling party.

Counting of votes began at RDO office at Madurantakam at 8 a.m. today and right from the first round, the AIADMK candidate maintained an impressive lead.

Counting of votes from the Acharapakkam union was taken up first and Mr. Boovaragamoorthy secured a lead of 1,911 votes in the first round itself. The lead stretched to 1,600 votes in the second round. But for the 14th round, when he got a slender margin of only 40 votes, Mr. Boovaragamoorthy maintained decisive leads in all the rounds.

Among the five postal ballots polled, two went to the CPI and three to the AIADMK.

In a brief chat, the MLA-elect, Mr. Boovaragamoorthy, said his victory was an expression of the people's faith in the AIADMK. ``It is a victory for the Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa, and her welfare measures that she has been implementing.''

Following is the final list of votes polled by the candidates:

Total votes: 1,67,240; votes polled: 1,03,911

A. Boovaragamoorthy (AIADMK): 55,507 (53 per cent); D. Parvendhan (PMK): 37,590 (35 per cent); P.S. Ellappan (CPI): 4,047

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