In Pollachi, the party retains its seat for the seventh time, in The Nilgiris, A. Raja of DMK falls
All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam candidate P. Nagarajan made history by winning the Coimbatore Parliamentary constituency on Friday. The party had never contested the seat earlier. He romped home securing 4,31,717 votes, which is 37.24 per cent of the total valid votes.
Bharathiya Janata Party’s candidate C.P. Radhakrishnan, who represented the constituency twice — in 1998 and 1999, emerged second by polling 3,89,701 votes. They are the two candidates who managed to get back their deposits.
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s K. Ganeshkumar, Congress’ R. Prabhu, Communist Party of India — Marxist’s P.R. Natarajan and Aam Aadmi Party’s Pon. Chandran lost deposit as they polled less than one-fifth of the total valid votes, which was 11,59,192. The DMK got 2,17,083 votes, the Congress 56,962, the CPM 34,197 and AAP 6,680.
The AIADMK victory also ensured that Coimbatore was out of the Left bastion as the CPI and CPI(M) had won the Coimbatore seat in 1967, 1971,1977, 2004 and 2009.
The winning candidate Mr. Nagarajan told journalists that though the victory was sweet it did not give him enough joy because he could not see his party General Secretary Jayalalithaa as the Prime Minister.
He got his victory certificate — Form ‘21 C’ — from the Returning Officer Archana Patnaik in the presence of election officials, Mayor S.M. Velusamy and party men, who waited outside the counting centre at the Government College of Technology.
The AIADMK victory was not just and hard-fought one, alleged candidates who lost. Sitting MP and CPM candidate Mr. Natarajan, DMK’s Mr. Ganeshkumar and AAP’s Mr. Chandran said AIADMK had won by distributing money. They also recalled their complaint to the Returning Officer in this regard.
Earlier, counting began at 8 a.m. amidst tight security at the Government College of Technology. The officials first took up the postal ballots, which was followed by electronic voting machines at 8.45 a.m. The first round of results were declared 45 minutes thereafter.
The second round got delayed because the counting officials found that one of the EVMs in the counting centre for the Kavundampalayam Assembly segment had malfunctioned.
Returning Officer Archana Patnaik said the officials would take a printout of the votes polled to do the counting manually.
The resultant delay in announcing the result and the lack of communicating the cause led to some confusion with journalists squatting in front of the main complex shouting slogans. The denial of permission to carry mobile phones only added fuel to the fire.
Journalists complained that they were unable to update results using mobile phones.
Returning Officer Ms. Patnaik and City Police Commissioner A.K. Viswanathan pacified the journalists and promised to remedy the situation.
Notwithstanding the problem, the officials continued with the counting in the Kavundampalayam and other Assembly segments. As a result the official results for the other rounds were available at one-go only by noon.
The 2014 Parliamentary election also saw 17,428 voters exercise the none of the above (NOTA) option. The constituency also recorded 2,271 valid postal votes and seven invalid postal votes.
A keenly watched contest in the Nilgiris ended with the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam trouncing its arch rival, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, by over a lakh votes. C. Gopalakrishnan of the AIADMK defeated the DMK’s A. Raja, the former Union Telecom Minister and an accused in the 2G spectrum scam. The re-nomination of Mr. Raja by the DMK, despite the charges against him, generated a lot of interest in the contest in the constituency.
Establishing a lead in the first round itself, Mr. Gopalakrishnan steadily increased it to bag 4,63,700 votes. Mr. Raja had to settle for 3,58,760 votes, out of the total 933076 valid votes.
The tally that took everyone by surprise was that of ‘None of the above (NOTA)’ — as many as 46,559 votes. Officials said this could be the highest in the country.
While the Congress candidate P. Gandhi got 37,702 votes, M.T. Rani of the Aam Aadmi Party polled 12,525 votes. Refraining from saying anything more than, “I am glad” when asked by The Hindu to comment on his thumping victory, Mr. Gopalakrishnan received the certificate that declared him as elected from the Nilgiris Collector and Returning Officer P. Sankar. His supporters celebrated the victory by bursting crackers in various parts of the town and taking out a procession.
V. Sathyabama of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam registered a comprehensive victory and has entered the annals of history by becoming the first woman to represent Tirupur constituency in the Lok Sabha. She defeated her nearest rival N. Dinesh Kumar of DMDK, who finished fourth in the 2009 elections, by a margin of 1,79,315 votes. She surpassed the victory margin of Chellappa Sivasami (AIADMK), who won the elections in 2009, the first elections after the formation of Tirupur constituency, defeating S.K. Kharventhan of Indian National Congress by 85,346 votes.
Mrs. Sathyabama got 4,42,778 votes out of the total 10.5 lakh votes polled in the elections while Dinesh Kumar obtained 2,63,463 votes.
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s Senthilanathan got 2,05,411 votes. The seasoned campaigners E.V.K.S. Elangovan of Indian National Congress and K. Subbarayan, a two-time MLA and former MP, faired extremely poor to finish fourth and fifth, respectively.
While Mr. Elangovan, a former Union Minister, got just 47,554 votes, Mr. Subbarayan received 33,331 votes in his favour. A total of 13,941 voters opted for none-of-the-above option. Aam Aadmi Party candidate Chakravarthi Rajagopala Krishnan got a paltry 3,087 votes.
In a chat with The Hindu, Mrs. Sathyabama said that victory by a huge margin came on expected lines. “It is not my victory but actually belongs to the party leader Jayalalithaa and the party,” she said.
She said that as a Member of Parliament, she would try to solve the pollution issues in Tirupur industrial cluster and work for expeditious completion of Athikadavu- Avinashi Flood Flow Canal Scheme with the help of the State Government.
The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam continued to demonstrate its dominance over this rural constituency as it retained Pollachi Parliamentary seat, winning it for the seventh time since 1977. With 4,17,092 votes, its candidate C. Mahendran defeated E.R. Eswaran (2,76,118 votes) of Kongu Nadu Makkal Desiya Katchi by 1,40,974 votes. Mr. Eswaran had contested on the Bharatiya Janata Party symbol.
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) candidate and former Minister Pongalur N. Palanisamy came third with 2,51,090 votes. A. Selvaraj of Congress came a distant fourth place with 30,014 votes.
The only other candidates from recognised parties – M. Manoharan (9,953 votes) of Bahujan Samaj Party and L. Sathish Kumar (895 votes) of Samajwadi Party – failed to make an impact, as did the 12 independent candidates.
A total of 12,947 voters opted for ‘none-of-the-above’ option.
The constituency had recorded 10,09,488 or 73.11 per cent of the total 13,80,868 votes during the Parliamentary election on April 24. A total of 9,99,720 votes were declared as valid.
Speaking to reporters, Mr. Mahendran credited his victory to the good governance and social welfare schemes of Chief Minister Jayalalithaa-led AIADMK Government. He said that he would accord priority to development.
(Inputs from Karthik Madhavan in Coimbatore, D. Radhakrishnan in Udhagamandalam, R. Vimal Kumar in Tirupur and R. Sairam in Pollachi)
Keywords: P. Nagarajan, Coimbatore Parliamentary constituency, C. Gopalakrishnan, Nilgiris Parliamentary constituency, V. Sathyabama, Tirupur Parliamentary constituency, C. Mahendran, Pollachi Parliamentary constituency