Barring the AIADMK candidate, all others lose their deposit
DMK candidate maintains lead throughout the counting of votes
Azhagiri describes victory as yet another milestone for the party
MADURAI: The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam on Monday won the Thirumangalam Assembly by-election, defeating its nearest rival, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, by 39,266 votes.
Of the total of 1,38,191 valid votes, DMK candidate Latha Athiyaman polled 79,422 votes and AIADMK nominee M. Muthuramalingam got 40,156 votes. DMDK candidate Dhanapandian secured 13,136 votes and Sarath Kumar’s Akila Indiya Samathuva Makkal Katchi polled 831 votes.
Except the AIADMK candidate, all others lost their deposit, officials said.
Amid tight security, counting started at 8 a.m. at the Madurai Medical College. In the first round, Ms. Athiyaman, who bagged 6,020 votes, registered a lead of 2,499 votes over her nearest rival. In every subsequent round, she improved her position. There were 14 rounds.
Though officials had announced that Thirumangalam had 968 postal ballots and that 175 had been issued, no postal vote was received, they said.
DMK campaign committee chairman M.K. Azhagiri presented a shawl to Ms. Athiyaman soon after she received the certificate from the Returning Officer. Ministers I. Periasamy and K.R. Periakaruppan; Dindigul MP N. S. V. Chiththan; Madurai West Congress MLA K.S.K. Rajendran; and a large number of DMK functionaries also greeted her. Jubilant DMK workers burst crackers and distributed sweets at many places in the city.
Mr. Azhagiri described the victory as yet another milestone for the DMK. He had earlier predicted that the party would win the by-election and record a hat-trick. (The DMK had won the Madurai Central seat and its ally Congress the Madurai West constituency, in by-elections held earlier in the district).
In a brief address, Ms. Athiyaman thanked the people of Thirumangalam for having voted for her.
Mr. Muthuramalingam accused the ruling party of threatening the electorate by all means during the campaign and on polling day.
Total votes: 1,55,647. Votes polled: 1,38,191. Latha Athiyaman (DMK): 79,422; M. Muthuramalingam (AIADMK) 40,156; T. Dhanapandian (DMDK): 13,136 and R. Padmanabhan (AISMK): 831. The seat was held by the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, an ally of the AIADMK. The death of MDMK MLA Veera. Ilavarasan necessitated the by-poll.