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A clean sweep for the ruling party

AIADMK wins all three seats comfortably; victory margin highest in Thiruparankundram

November 23, 2016 12:00 am | Updated December 02, 2016 05:10 pm IST - CHENNAI

: In the end, there were no surprises. The ruling AIADMK on Tuesday comfortably won the elections to the three Assembly constituencies in the State including in Aravakurichi and Thanjavur where the polls were deferred in May for the first time in the history of the country following evidence of massive corruption. The very same candidates, who faced the allegations, won with handsome margins.

In Aravakurichi, former minister V. Senthil Balaji wrested the seat with a significant victory over his rival K.C. Pallani Shamy of the DMK. In Thanjavur, the AIADMK retained the seat with a bigger margin than it managed in 2011, and in Thiruparankundram, where a by-poll was necessitated following the death of the ruling party MLA S.M. Seenivelu even before he could take oath, the AIADMK candidate recorded a massive win.

37 lose deposit

In the high-voltage Aravakurichi polls, Mr. Senthil Balaji polled 88,068 votes and Mr. Pallani Shamy secured only 64,407 votes. Except the DMK, 37 candidates including the BJP, the DMDK and the PMK forfeited their deposits.

The third place went to S. Prabhu of the BJP with 3,162 votes. However, the DMDK, which was the principal opposition party between 2011 and 2016, was relegated to the fifth position. Its candidate M. Muthu polled just 1,513 votes. As many as 1,538 voters had opted for NOTA (None of the Above).

Expectedly, Mr. Senthil Balaji polled less than the DMK candidate in Pallapatti, a minority-dominated area.

Though he established a clear lead from the beginning, the AIADMK cadre waited for the trend of votes polled in Pallapatti to burst crackers. Once they realised that the Pallapatti voters were insufficient to bridge the gap, the AIADMK workers began to celebrate.

The victory is expected to give a fillip to Mr. Senthil Balaji, who has had a roller-coaster political ride. He was made Minister at the age of just 35 but his career graph took a dive after being dropped from the Cabinet and stripped of the district secretary post. The win here could resurrect his political career, say his supporters.

A spirited campaign

In Thanjavur, AIADMK’s M. Rengasamy rode to victory on the back of a combination of factors including the people’s decision to go with the current regime, meticulous campaigning by an army of cadre led by eight ministers and a divided DMK. Dr. Anjugam Bhupathy, belonging to the DMK, was relegated to the second position.

While Mr. Rengasamy polled 1,01,362 votes to emerge the winner, Dr. Anjugam Bhupathy, a physician by training, tallied 74,488 votes, conceding a victory margin of 26,874.

The BJP’s M.S. Ramalingam polled 3,806 votes, followed by the DMDK’s V. Abdullah Sait who got 1,534 votes; Naam Tamizhar Katchi’s A. Nalladurai secured 1,192 votes, the PMK’s G. Kunjithapatham got 794 votes and S. Karikalacholan of the Nationalist Congress Party managed 105 votes.

All of them, as well as seven Independents who contested the elections, forfeited their deposits. Remarkably, 2,295 voters had preferred the NOTA option, placing it in the fourth slot.

Mr. Rengasamy led from the first round and steadily increased the lead with every passing round. As the counting progressed, the DMK agents present at the counting centre were incredulous as they could see victory slipping away from them steadily. This was the first time in electoral history that the AIADMK was retaining the seat, and that was something that rankled both the rank and the file.

At Thiruparankundram, the AIADMK registered its biggest victory.

Out of the 2,03,110 total votes, the party polled 1,13,032 votes. The DMK came a distant second with 70,362.

The BJP secured 6,930 votes and the DMDK polled 4,105 votes. There were 28 candidates in the fray and except the DMK, all others lost their deposits.

Establishing a lead from first round, the AIADMK’s candidate A.K. Bose never looked back and won by a margin of 42,670 votes against his nearest rival P. Saravanan of the DMK. In all the 21 rounds, the AIADMK led.

( Additional inputs by L. Renganathan, C. Jaishankar and L. Srikrishna )

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