The namesakes and almost identical free symbols have either reduced the victory margin or snatched away the winning chances of the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam candidates in Villupuram district.
The Election Commission had allotted ‘Nagara' (Drum), a common but free symbol to the DMDK, and ‘Basket' symbol to certain Independents. DMDK sources said the symbols looked almost identical and therefore after insertion of the candidates' list in the ballot unit it would be difficult for the uninitiated to distinguish between the symbols.
The sources claimed that because of this problem DMDK candidates lost thousands of votes.
Winning chances robbed
For instance, in the Ginjee Assembly seat A. Ganesh Kumar of the Pattali Makkal Katchi (polled 77,026 votes) defeated R. Sivalingam of the DMDK (polled 75,215 votes) by a slender margin of 1,811 votes.
Whereas, Independent K. Sivakumar, contesting on the ‘Basket' symbol in the same constituency polled 8,627 votes, which, the sources said, should have gone to the DMDK candidate.
Such a situation had robbed the winning chances of Mr. Sivalingam.
Founder-leader of the DMDK Vijayakant had polled 91,164 votes, while his nearest rival Congress candidate S. Sivaraj got 60,369 votes, thus obtaining a victory margin of 30,795 in the Rishivandhiyam constituency.
But his namesake Independent M. Vijayakant, who was in the fray in the same constituency and contesting on the ‘Basket' symbol secured 7,355 votes.
In the Thirukkoilur constituency, L. Venkatesan of the DMDK got 78,229 votes and trounced the DMK rival M. Thangam (who polled 69,438) by a margin of 8, 791 votes. However, his namesake V. Venkatesan, an Independent contesting on the ‘Basket' symbol, managed to get 6,029 votes.
The party sources further stated that with the impressive victory in the elections, the DMDK could now stake its claim for a permanent symbol as a recognised political party. In such an eventuality, the confusion over the symbol identification could be overcome.