The party fine-tuned the second preference vote strategy

Thursday’s elections to six Rajya Sabha seats from Tamil Nadu was both a pointer to the importance of parties getting their homework right and the embarrassment the absence could result in for some.

The ruling AIADMK that had adequate numbers for sending not only four of its candidates, but also another fielded by its ally, decided against taking any chances. This was evident from a mock voting session the party organised for its MLAs on the eve of the elections.

It was not merely a familiarisation exercise to inform the MLAs of the procedures that need to be followed in the polling station, as the party seems to have used the opportunity to fine-tune the second preference vote strategy. Under this, three of the MLAs who voted for K.R. Arjunanan cast their second preference vote for another party candidate V. Maitreyan. Likewise, two MLAs who exercised their franchise in favour of Mr. Maitreyan gave their second preference vote to Mr. Arjunan.

The same strategy was adopted for the two other AIADMK candidates as well. T. Rathnnavel got three second preference votes of those who voted for R. Lakshmanan. In turn, two MLAs who voted for Mr. Rathanavel opted to give their second preference vote for Dr. Lakshmanan.

Giving details, the Assembly Secretary and Returning Officer for elections A.M.P. Jamaludeen told mediapersons that while Mr. Lakshmanan got 35 first preference votes, the other three got 36. The total number of valid votes in the elections was 230 with the minimum votes required for victory being 33 each.

Apart from the 151 MLAs, the AIADMK also enjoyed the support of 19 Left party MLAs and seven rebel members of the DMDK. The candidate fielded by Communist Party of India, D.Raja, got 34 first preference votes and no second preference votes.

The second preference votes, however, did not come into play as the 4 AIADMK candidates got through in the first round itself.

For the DMK, there was discomfiture on account of one invalid vote cast by its MLA. Yet, the party candidate Kanimozhi sailed through.

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