As expected, the DMK-Congress alliance swept all the five Assembly by-elections in Tamil Nadu on Friday with huge margins, amid the AIADMK-led opposition boycotting the polls saying the political atmosphere was not conducive for holding free and fair elections in the state.
While the DMK lapped up the seats of Bargur, earlier held by the AIADMK, and Cumbum, hitherto held by the MDMK, the ruling party retained the Ilayangudi seat in Ramanathapuram district, to take its total tally to 99 MLAs’ in the 234-member House.
The Congress, in alliance with the DMK, retained its Srivaikuntam seat down South, even as it wrested the Thondamuthur Assembly segment near Coimbatore, from the MDMK. In the absence of the Ms. Jayalalithaa-led opposition AIADMK, and its allies the Vaiko-led MDMK and PMK in the fray, the margins for the ruling combine were huge.
In Bargur, DMK’s K R K Narasimhan won by a large margin of 59,023 votes, while at Cumbum, its nominee N Ramakrishnan (who had earlier defected from the MDMK to the DMK), was comfortably through with a margin of 57,673 votes. In Ilayangudi, the DMK’s candidate S. Mathiarasan, won by nearly 28,000 votes against their respective nearest rivals of the actor-turned-politician Vijayakant’s DMDK party.
The Congress candidate, M. N. Kandasamy won by the biggest margin of 71,487 votes against his nearest DMDK rival in the Thondamuthur constituency, even as another Congress nominee, M B Sudalaiyandi, romped home at Srivaikuntam with a comfortable margin of 31,359 votes against his nearest DMDK rival. With these two by-poll wins, the Congress takes its tally to 36 seats in the State Assembly.
A beaming DMK President and Chief Minister, Mr. M. Karunanidhi, said their combine continuing the winning streak was a “clear victory” for the performance of the UPA Government in Delhi and the DMK Ministry in the State. Ms. Jayalalithaa’s call to the electorate to boycott these by-elections was rejected by them, he emphasized.
Echoing similar views, the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee President, K V Thankkabalu said the by-election victories were an endorsement of the Central Government’s and the State Government’s pro-people policies and programmes. “It will enthuse us to work even better,” he told reporters in Chennai.
Vijayakant said his party has polled more in these by-polls, compared with last Lok Sabha polls. But the winners in each of the Assembly seats that went to polls now were streets ahead of his DMDK. The CPI and CPI(M), which contested two seats each defying the AIADMK’s diktat, drew a blank.