Vellore/Chennai: The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) on Friday won the hotly contested, postponed Lok Sabha election from Vellore constituency in North Tamil Nadu, with the party's candidate DM Kathir Anand defeating his nearest AIADMK-backed NJP candidate, AC Shanmugam, by a small margin of 8,141 votes.
The results declared by the EC in the evening said that Kathir Anand had polled 4,85,340 votes (47.30 per cent), while A C Shanmugam got 4,77,199 votes (46.51 per cent). Ms. Deepalakshmi of Naam Tamizhar Katchi (NTK) came third with 26, 995 votes (2.63 per cent). The 'NOTA' button accounted for 9,417 (0.92 per cent).
When counting of votes was taken up this morning, first with postal votes, it was a neck-and-neck race between the DMK and the AIADMK-backed candidate. In the initial rounds, Mr AC Shanmugam was at one time leading by over 15,000 votes. However, Mr. Kathir Anand of the DMK dramatically recovered ground to beat his principal rival.
Fortunes swung like a see-saw midway of the counting process amid tense moments, with gains and losses swinging either way; but eventually the DMK candidate, son of the party senior and former minister, Durai Murugan, prevailed, winning this crucial election by a slender margin of 8,141 votes. With this the DMK's numbers in the present Lok Sabha goes up to 24.
Sources said that DMK managed to push the AIADMK-backed candidate to the second place, with a good chunk of the Muslim votes in Vaniyambadi and Ambur Assembly segments going to Mr. Kathir Anand.
The AIADMK's 'dual stand' on the Triple Talaq Bill also had a depressing effect for the ruling party front, even as the Kashmir developments on the day of voting August 5, appears to have helped the consolidation of minorities votes in favour of the DMK candidate. However, the AIADMK can take consolation from the fact that its front candidate in Vellore has yet again shown that the party's 'Two Leaves' symbol, on which A C Shanmugam contested, had a significant impact.
In Chennai, the DMK president MK Stalin profusely thanking the voters of Vellore for his party candidate's victory, said despite the “full use of government machinery” by the AIADMK government for this stand-alone LS poll, the DMK cadres along with alliance parties and support of the people boldly took on the challenge at the field level.
He said the DMK win in this election showed that people have foiled the “mischievous campaign” of the AIADMK led by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, which sought to belittle the people's mandate during the general election in April by alleging that the DMK had “enticed the people with false promises like giving lollipops to children.”
“The DMK has captured Vellore fort, overcoming the money power and influence of governmental machinery by the ruling party,” Mr. Stalin said.
The DMK leader later told reporters that the Vellore verdict was a “victory for democracy”.
“We feel happy that DMK will now be the third largest party in the Lok Sabha,” Stalin added.
Congratulating the DMK candidate who contested and won on behalf of the secular alliance, the CPI(M) state secretary K Balakrishnan said the ruling AIADMK had 'day-dreamed' of claiming the Vellore LS seat with help of money power and misuse of official machinery. But the people of Vellore were not to be cowed down by such factors and they have given a clear verdict against AIADMK-BJP combine, added Balakrishnan.