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Southern States - Tamil Nadu

AIADMK wrests two seats

By Our Tamil Nadu Bureau

CHENNAI June 2. The ruling AIADMK wrested the Acharapakkam and Vaniyambadi Assembly seats by an impressive margin in the May 31 byelections, the results of which were announced today.

While R.Vadivel outscored his DMK rival, E.M. Hanifa, in Vaniyambadi by 19,721 votes, A. Boovaraghamoorthy, who lost in the 1996 election, trounced the Pattali Makkal Katchi candidate, D. Parvendhan, in Acharapakkam by a 17,917-vote margin. With two more seats in its kitty, the AIADMK strength in the 234-member Assembly goes up to 135 including the Speaker. Interestingly, the ruling party grabbed the seats from its allies in May 2001 general election— PMK and Indian National League— by an improved victory margin.

However, in the Saidapet constituency, where too a byelection was held last Friday, counting was not taken up this morning as enquiry officers appointed by the Election Commission began their probe into a spate of complaints by the Opposition DMK and Left parties of electoral irregularities.

The enquiry officers, J.S. Burjia and Santosh Kumar, who perused the reports of the District Collector and ``documents and evidence'' submitted by the DMK, are expected to send their report to the EC tomorrow.

In Vaniyambadi, where the Opposition complaints of bogus voting were relatively less serious, the AIADMK's gamble of fielding a Hindu in a ``minority'' constituency has paid off, especially with support from the Hindutva outfits and the State BJP, which had snapped its ties with the DMK.

In Acharapakkam, where in spite of the National Democratic Alliance standing united with even the BJP, the MDMK and the DMK backing Mr. Parvendhan, the PMK was unable to match the ruling party machinery and ended up a distant second.

Of course, the DMK too suffered the same handicap in Vaniyambadi. With the AIADMK Government having completed only one year of its five-year term, the electorate thought it better to vote for the ruling party, which had made continuance of development works a major campaign point.

The ``informal'' third front experiment by the former allies of the AIADMK — Left parties, INL, TMC and Congress — appears to have come a cropper with the CPI and the INL turning out a disappointing performance. While the CPI's P.S. Ellappan, despite support from the Dalit Panthers of India, could manage just 4,047 votes in Acharapakkam, the INL nominee, Nawaz, polled 11,324 votes in Vaniyambadi. The MDMK continued its poor run, barely managing 3191 votes in Vaniyambadi.

Immediately after the declaration of the results, a jubilant AIADMK general secretary and Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa, in a statement, said the outcome confirmed the fact that the PMK had won in Acharapakkam in the last election only because of AIADMK support.

Thanking the electorate of the two constituencies, she said the promises given by the AIADMK candidates during the campaign would be fulfilled.

A disappointed PMK president, S. Ramadoss, in a statement, said the ruling party men had, with police cooperation, touched the heights of misuse of the official machinery.

With these ``snatched victories'', the AIADMK would claim that the public had given all its actions the stamp of approval. ``However, people will not remain silent forever and victory would be followed by defeat,'' he warned.

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