Continuing its winning streak, the ruling AIADMK today retained the Yercaud (ST) Assembly constituency, with party nominee P Saroja romping home with a massive margin of 78,116 votes against her DMK rival V Maran.
Saroja, widow of AIADMK legislator C Perumal, whose death necessitated the bye-election, secured 1,42,771 votes, leaving Maran far behind with 64,655 votes.
As many as 4,431 voters opted for None of the Above
(NOTA), introduced in the state for the first time in this
AIADMK supporters plunged into celebrations mid-way
through the counting by bursting crackers and distributing
sweets after Saroja started leading from the very first round.
In a record turnout, 89.24 per cent of over 2.40 lakh
voters had excercised their franchise on December 4.
Since coming to power in 2011 after dethroning arch rival
DMK, this is the ruling party's fourth electoral triumph in
bypolls held so far, earlier winning Tiruchirappally (West),
Sankarankoil (SC) and Puthukottai.
Gloom descended on the DMK camp in the wake of it's
dismal performance in the election despite the fact that it
had left no stone unturned to upset AIADMK's winning run.
Senior leaders and DMK chief M Karunanidhi's children--M
K Stalin and Kanimozhi-- had vigorously campaigned for Maran but their efforts failed to deliver results.
AIADMK supremo and Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa
described the win as an "acknowledgement and recognition" of her government's pro-people policies.
"The voters of Yercaud have acknowledged and recognised
that the fruits of the two and a half years of AIADMK
government's welfare schemes have reached the people," a
visibly elated Jayalalithaa, surrounded by beaming party
supporters who thronged her Poes Garden residence here, said.
When reporters sought Jayalalithaa's response over the
trends of the counting in the four northern states, including
in Delhi, she quipped "allow us to enjoy our victory. I will
speak in greater detail (about them) on another occasion."
She thanked alliance party leaders, including CPI and her
own party supporters besides voters of Yercaud for reposing
their faith in her party's candidate.
Reacting to his party's drubbing, DMK chief M Karunanidhi
alleged the ruling party won the election by means, including
money power and violating election Model Code of Conduct.
"Therefore, (whatever) their victory cries may be, one
cannot ponder what price was given to buy that win," he said
in a statement.
Apparently seeking to enthuse the morale of disheartened
party workers, he exhorted them to use such losses as stepping stone for success in future and thanked those who had voted for.
Later, Jayalalithaa exhorted party workers to work with
the same zeal to ensure AIADMK won all 40 seats in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry during next