: The All India Anna Dravida Munetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) candidate P. Saroja on Sunday won the Yercaud by-election, securing 1,42,771 votes. Her immediate rival V. Maran of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam secured 64,655 votes.

The margin of votes (78,116 votes) polled by Ms Saroja was more than twice that of her husband C. Perumal whose death in July necessitated the by-election. In 2011, Perumal won the seat by a margin of 37,582 votes.

Ever since the commencement of the counting of votes, she was in the lead and maintained it throughout. Barring Mr Maran, all other candidates, who were independents, forfeited deposits. On Wednesday last when polling took place, 2,14,406 voters exercised their franchise, representing 89.24 per cent.

 After the declaration of results, the AIADMK members lit fireworks and celebrated the victory. Ms. Saroja received the certificate from Returning Officer (RO) T. Sabapathy in the presence of Highways Minister Edapadi K. Palanisamy and others.

With this victory, she became the 11{+t}{+h} member of the constituency, which was formed as a reserve constituency for Scheduled Tribe candidates in 1957. The local AIADMK members said their party, through the Yercaud verdict, has given a fitting reply to the DMK, which won the Pennagaram byelection in March 2010. (Like Yercaud, Pennagaram in Dharmapuri district is also in the western region of the State).

 The maximum number of votes polled by an independent was A. Rajendran who got 793 votes. The details of votes polled by other independents were: S.A. Palani – 622, M. Palanisamy – 196, K. Palanivel – 97, K. Boobalan – 117, E. Ponnusamy – 110, C. Manikandan – 169, K. Mathiyalagan – 223 and A. Rajakannu – 181.

 At 8 a.m., the counting of votes began amid tight security at the CSI Polytechnic College on the Yercaud Main Road in Salem. All the 290 electronic voting machines (EVMs) in which the votes were cast were brought to the counting hall. At the beginning of the counting process, postal votes were taken into account.

Of nine postal votes were polled, Ms Saroja secured six votes and Mr. Maran secured two votes.

The remaining one vote was declared invalid. Counting was conducted in the presence of general observer for the bypoll Ravi Prakash Arora. This was the fourth byelection since the AIADMK returned to power in May 2011 and the party had won all the by-elections.