DMK’s Kathir Anand wins Vellore Lok Sabha seat by a slender margin

AIADMK candidate A.C. Shanmugam defeated by 8,141 votes; DMK’s tally in Lok Sabha goes up to 24.

August 09, 2019 06:58 pm | Updated December 04, 2021 11:52 pm IST - Vellore

Election Officer A. Shanmuga Sundram presents the certificate of election to DMK candidate D.M. Kathir Anand at Ranipettai Engineering college near Walajapet in Vellore district on August 9, 2019.

Election Officer A. Shanmuga Sundram presents the certificate of election to DMK candidate D.M. Kathir Anand at Ranipettai Engineering college near Walajapet in Vellore district on August 9, 2019.

In an absorbing contest that saw a dramatic change of fortunes even as counting of votes was on, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) on Friday bagged the Vellore Parliamentary constituency, polling for which was deferred in April, taking its tally in the Lok Sabha to 24.

The party’s nominee, D.M. Kathir Anand, who is the son of former Minister and DMK treasurer Durai Murugan, defeated his nearest rival and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) candidate A.C. Shanmugam by a slender margin of 8,141 votes.

Of a total of 10,26,055 votes polled, the DMK candidate secured 4,85,340 votes (47.3%) and the AIADMK nominee 4,77,199 votes (46.51%). The voter turnout was 71.51%.

Polling in the Vellore constituency was held on Monday (August 5) after the Election Commission rescinded it in April following seizure of cash from associates of the DMK candidate.

Unlike the results of Lok Sabha elections in the State, announced in May, when DMK-led Secular Progressive Alliance candidates won by massive margins, the victory margin in Vellore was thin. In fact, this is the second narrowest victory margin in Tamil Nadu in the Lok Sabha polls this year after Chidambaram (R) constituency, where VCK founder Thol. Thirumavalavan managed to scrape through with 3,219 votes.

Initially, Mr. Shanmugam, who is the founder of the New Justice Party, was ahead of the DMK nominee by about 5,200 votes. But, from the fifth round, Mr. Kathir Anand began taking the lead and maintained it for another seven rounds. Even though the former again outscored the latter between 13th and 18th rounds, the gap opened up by the DMK nominee earlier was large enough to ensure him victory.

At the end of 21st round, and after taking into account postal votes, Mr. Kathir Anand emerged the winner. Returning Officer and Vellore Collector A. Shanmuga Sundram handed over the certificate of election to Mr. Kathir Anand in the evening, in the presence of Mr. Durai Murugan, and other senior DMK leaders.

DMK president M.K. Stalin greets cadres at the party headquarters Anna Arrivalayam in Chennai after party candidates D.M. Kathir Anand won the Vellore Lok Sabha seat.

DMK president M.K. Stalin greets cadres at the party headquarters Anna Arrivalayam in Chennai after party candidates D.M. Kathir Anand won the Vellore Lok Sabha seat.

Interestingly, this was the DMK contestant’s maiden electoral battle. By getting elected to the Lok Sabha, he achieved what his father could not in 1977. At that time, Mr. Durai Murugan contested from the Vandavasi Parliamentary constituency and lost to AIADMK candidate Venugopal Gounder by a margin of about 81,130 votes.

For Mr. Shanmugam, this was his second loss from Vellore. Five years ago, he lost to the AIADMK’s B. Senguttuvan by a margin of 59,393 votes. Then, Mr. Shanmugam contested on a ticket of the Bharatiya Janata Party, which had a tie-up with DMDK, PMK and the MDMK.

Another significant feature of this election was that neither of the principal parties fielded a Muslim candidate. In the past, the DMK had invariably fielded candidates from the Indian Muslim League.

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