Almost all Congress candidates identified as belonging to the youth brigade, and who were said to have been recommended by All India Congress Committee general secretary Rahul Gandhi, have fallen by the wayside in the just concluded Assembly elections.

Of the 63 seats that the Congress managed to wrest from its alliance leader Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), after protracted negotiations that came pretty close to estrangement in relationship of the two parties, at least 10 were given to Youth Congress candidates.

Among them, even State Youth Congress president M. Yuvaraja lost to All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) candidate K.V. Ramalingam by a margin of over 37,000 votes in Erode West constituency.

S.P. Varadarajan lost to Annadurai R. of the CPI (M) by a margin of almost 46,000 votes in Madurai South, S. Jothimani lost to Senthil Balaji V. of the AIADMK by more than 44,000 votes in Karur, Armstrong Navin lost to K. Pandiarajan of the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) by about 32,000 votes in Virudhunagar and S.K. Arthanari lost to S. Madheswaran of the AIADMK by about 30,000 votes in Attur.

Among the slightly better performers, Elenchezhiyan (Ambur) lost by 5,000 votes, K. Mahendran (Peravurani) by 7,000 votes and V.K. Arivazhagan (Anna Nagar) by 16,000 votes.

Even among senior leaders, Tamil Nadu Congress Committee president K.V. Thangkabalu was defeated by a little known R. Rajalakshmi of the AIADMK in Mylapore by a margin of about 30,000 votes, former Union Minister S. Thirunavukkarasar lost to M. Rajanayagam (AIADMK) by 16,000 votes in Aranthangi (from where he was returned six times), S. Peter Alphonse lost to P. Chendurpandian of the AIADMK by a margin of 16,000 in Kadayanallur, D. Yasodha lost to R. Perumal (AIADMK) by a margin of 40,000 votes in Sriperumbudur and C. Gnanasekaran lost to V.S. Vijay (AIADMK) by a margin of about 15,000 votes in Vellore.

Of the 31 sitting Congress MLAs who were in the fray only three (K. Gopinath, S. John Jacob and N.R. Rengarajan) could emerge victorious.

The winners

Of the total five who have weathered the storm, three — J.G. Prince (Colachel), S. John Jacob (Killiyoor) and S. Vijayadharani (Vilavankode)—are from Kanyakumari district. While K. Gopinath has been returned from Hosur, the traditional constituency of national parties, N.R. Rengarajan got elected again from Pattukkottai.

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