By-polls: AIADMK wrests Aravakurichi, retains 2 others in Tamil Nadu
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Chennai: Continuing its electoral dominance amid hospitalisation of its supremo and chief minister Jayalalitha, the ruling AIADMK on Tuesday romped home in all three Tamil Nadu assembly segments that went to polls, triggering celebrations by party supporters across the state.
AIADMK, on a roll since 2011 winning back-to-back state elections and sweeping the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, wrested the Aravakurichi seat from DMK and retained Thanjavur and Thiruparankundram by margins ranging from more than 20,000 votes to 42,000, dealing a blow to the Dravidian arch rival.
Elections were held to the constituencies on 19 November and the counting of votes was undertaken on Tuesday.
In Aravakurichi and Thanjavur, the elections were held after being cancelled during the May assembly polls due to alleged corrupt practices, while a by-poll was held in Thiruparankundram to fill a vacancy caused by the death of an AIADMK member.
With Tuesday’s outcome, the AIADMK’s tally in the 234-member assembly has risen to 136. The number includes the speaker.
The M. Karunanidhi-led DMK had to be content with the runners-up position after harbouring hopes of winning the seats on the claim of “non-functioning” of state government since Jayalalithaa’s hospitalisation here on 22 September last.
AIADMK, which went to the polls highlighting the welfare schemes implemented by Jayalalithaa, garnered an impressive vote share of about 55%, while DMK could manage only 37.8%.
Barely a week before the elections, Jayalalithaa, in her first public communication since being admitted to the Apollo Hospitals, had appealed to people to vote for her party. “Have taken rebirth because of your prayers, waiting to resume work soon. Appeal to people to vote for AIADMK in November 19 polls,” she had said.
BJP, which finished third in all the three segments, secured a vote share of 2.5%, pushing regional players like PMK and DMDK further down. PMK contested in Thanjavur and Aravakurichi alone and did not field candidate in Thiruparankundram and got 0.3% votes. BJP’s performance is being seen against the background of the Centre taking a stand against constituting the Cauvery Management Board in the Supreme Court.
Actor-turned politician Vijaykant’s DMDK, which was the main opposition party during 2011-16, could bag a vote share of just 1.3% after an exodus of several senior party functionaries since last assembly hustings. All parties barring AIADMK and DMK forfeited their deposits.
In Aravakurichi, AIADMK’s V. Senthil Balaji, a former minister in the previous regime, trounced his nearest DMK rival K.C. Palanisamy by a margin of 23,661 votes marking his return to the assembly. Balaji secured 88,068 votes while Palanisamy 64,407 votes. Palanisamy, known as KCP in DMK circles, had won the seat in the 2011 polls.