Arumugam Sakthivel was re-elected president of Tirupur Exporters Association (TEA) for a term of three years here on Monday.

He defeated M. Veluswamy in the keenly fought election held prior to the Annual General Meeting of the association. Of the 497 votes polled, Mr. Sakthivel obtained 334 votes and Mr. Velusamy got 162 votes. One vote was declared invalid.

It was for the first time since the establishment of TEA in 1990, Mr. Sakthivel, who is its founder president, faced direct contest from a candidate as he was chosen unopposed in the previous elections held.

Mr. Sakthivel told The Hindu that topmost priority would be given to rejuvenate the apparel exports from the cluster, which at present, face a bit of slackness. “The Association will explore avenues to help the exporters penetrate niche markets with greater thrust,” he said.

Besides being TEA president, Mr. Sakthivel is also the president of Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) and serves as member in the boards of National Institute of Fashion Technology and Apparel Export Promotion Council.

Meanwhile, Mr. Veluswamy said “garnering 162 votes, defying all predictions of ending up with two-digit number, itself was a victory for me considering that I campaigned alone and decided to contest at the eleventh hour. It is also a win for the cause of small and medium scale exporters.”

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