102-yr-old TN woman’s poll win lasts just 48 hrs
Less than 48 hours after basking in the glory of having won an election at the age of 102, a Dalit woman of Tamil Nadu was told she had lost.india Updated: Oct 25, 2011 02:16 IST
Less than 48 hours after basking in the glory of having won an election at the age of 102, a Dalit woman of Tamil Nadu was told she had lost. Centenarian Thadagathi was told clerical staff had made errors in handling votes for the local body polls she thought she’d won.
Election officials have taken back the certificate of victory given to Thadagathi “by mistake” on Saturday. Her rival, D Manimaran, a CPI(M) activist, was declared winner the next day.
After counting of votes on Friday, political debutant Thadagathi had been declared winner of the panchayat elections for the post of ward member of Pudukulam village in Madurai district, around 450 km south of Chennai.
Thadagathi vowed to fight the decision. “I am shocked that I have been cheated,” she told mediapersons on Monday.
Block development officer Su Saraswati, who was the election officer, said mistakes by her clerical staff were to blame for the confusion.
“I found the staff had entered the votes polled wrongly and credited Manimaran’s votes to Thadagathi. We rectified the error and issued a certificate to the actual winner, who brought the issue to our notice,” she said. “There was no ulterior motive.”
Saraswati added, “I had kept the certificates signed for the staff to fill in the details. They had issued the certificate without cross-checking the facts.” Quoting Thadagathi, the panchayat’s president-elect P Muthuramalingam — who supported her candidature as an independent — said, “We will fight it out in court.”
Thadagathi, revered in the village as Maruthuvatchi (village doctor conversant with traditional medicine), has excelled as a midwife, said Muthuramalingam. She came to the village as a 10-year-old bride. Her husband died when she was 75 and she has outlived eight of her 12 children. Her youngest son is 56.