The DMK won both the Tiruchendur and Vandavasi seats in the by-polls conducted on Saturday. Of the 10 by-elections held since October 2006, the DMK won seven times and its ally Congress the rest.

The ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam has won the by-elections to Vandavasi and Tiruchendur assembly constituencies held on Saturday.

In the intensely-fought contest in Tiruchendur, Anitha R. Radhakrishnan, who quit the MLA post before defecting from the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam to the ruling party in August, won the seat by a margin of 46,861 votes. In Vandavasi, J. Kamalakannan, whose father and the sitting MLA S.P. Jayaraman died last month, bagged the seat by a difference of 38,017 votes. The Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) forfeited deposits in both constituencies.

Of the 10 by-elections held since October 2006, the DMK won seven times and its ally Congress the rest. The ruling party emerged victorious in the Madurai Central (in October 2006), Tirumangalam (January 2009), Bargur, Cumbum, Ilayangudi (all the three in August 2009), Tiruchendur and Vandavasi constituencies while the Congress captured the Madurai West (June 2007) and Srivaikuntam and Thondamuthur seats (both in August 2009).

In Tiruchendur, the counting of votes was held at Adithanar College of Arts and Science, Tiruchendur in the presence of Tuticorin Collector G. Prakash. After 14 rounds of counting, Mr Radhakrishnan secured 75, 223 votes while T. Narayanan (AIADMK) bagged 28, 362 votes and A. Gomathi Ganesan (DMDK) 4,186 votes. There were 22 other contestants in the fray. The total number of voters was 1,40,150 and the number of votes polled 1,10,931.

It was the third consecutive win for Mr. Radhakrishnan in Tiruchendur. In the 2001 and 2006 Assembly elections, he won the seat as the AIADMK nominee.

For the Vandavasi constituency, the counting of votes was conducted at the Government Arts College, Cheyyar.

After 16 rounds, Mr Kamalakannan secured 78,227 votes followed by P. Munusamy (AIADMK) 40,810 votes and N. Janarthanan (DMDK) 7,063 votes. The total number of voters was 1,58,210 and the number of votes polled 1,32,750.

Reacting to the party’s victory, DMK president and Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, who visited the party headquarters here, attributed it to his government’s achievements, its concern for people’s issues and contact with the public. Deputy Chief Minister M.K. Stalin, who campaigned in the two constituencies for five days, said the results of the by-elections had affirmed that the DMK government, headed by Mr Karunanidhi, was functioning as the shield of Tamils.

Mr. Radhakrishnan praised M.K. Alagiri, Union Minister of Chemical and Fertilizers and the party’s south zone Organising Secretary, for his victory. In Vandavasi, the DMK took out a victory rally in which Food Minister and the election in charge E.V.Velu also took part.