The ruling DMK retained the Madurai (Central) Assembly seat with a comfortable margin after a bitterly fought by-election.
The DMK candidate Ghouse Basha defeated his nearest AIADMK rival Rajan Chellappa by a whopping margin of 31,085 votes. The candidate of Vijayakanth's party DMDK came a creditable third polling just 2,515 votes less than the AIADMK candidate.
What should be worrying for the AIADMK is the steep drop in its vote share compared to the May 2006 Assembly elections. The party polled only 19,909(23 per cent) votes this time compared to 35,992 votes polled in May.
On the other hand Vijayakanth's party increased its votes by 5,356 voters polling 17,394 votes (20 per cent) compared to May. The DMK got 7,809 votes more than it did in May polling a total of 57 per cent votes.
Chief Minister M Karunanidhi attributed the thumping win to the vindication of his government's implementation of its poll promises. Jayalalithaa alleged that the DMK had won due to malpractices during the by-election. The results of the local bodies elections will come out on Wednesday and if the by-election result is a pointer the DMK front appears set for a sweep.
The DMK win also reiterates the phenomenon of ruling parties winning subsequent by-elections as voters prefer continuity and feel that a ruling party MLA can do more for the constituency than one from the opposition.