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Joyful occasion: AIADMK cadre celebrate their party's win in Salem on Friday by setting off firecrackers. -
SALEM: Two heavyweights, Agriculture Minister Veerapandi S. Arumugam of DMK and Pattali Makkal Katchi president G. K. Mani, fell as the AIADMK-DMDK combine swept all 11 Assembly constituencies in Salem district on Friday. The counting went off peacefully in the district without any incident.
It was an easy win for Vijayalakshmi Palanisamy of AIADMK against her uncle and DMK strongman Arumugam in Sankagiri Assembly segment.
She had maintained a steady lead from the beginning to romp home by a victory margin of 35,079 votes.
Mr. Arumugam polled 70,423 votes against his niece Vijayalakshmi, a former AIADMK minister, who polled 105,502 votes. Mr. Arumugam received 301 postal ballots while Vijayalakshmi got 52. In the field of 14 all others forfeited their deposits.
But it was a bitter battle for ballots in Mettur Assembly constituency where the PMK leader G. K. Mani faced S. R. Parthiban of DMDK. Mr. Mani had the advantage of having a wafer thin lead of 3,680 votes at the end of 14 rounds.
But thereafter the fortunes got reversed. The lead got narrowed down steadily in the next two rounds and Parthiban snatched victory from Mani's grasp thus dashing his hopes of retaining the seat. A hitch in EVM machine delayed the announcement of final figures.
After the rectification of the fault and after 18 rounds, Parthiban polled 75,672 votes against Mani's 73,078 votes.
With this win in Mettur, DMDK won all the three seats it contested in Salem district including that of Gengavalli reserved segment from where R. Subha defeated DMK's sitting MLA K. Chinnadurai by a margin of 13,465 votes and in Salem North where R. Mohanraj defeated Congress candidate G. Jayaprakash by a margin of 29,660 votes.
Congress lost both seats it contested in Salem district with its Attur Reserve candidate S. K. Arthanari losing to AIADMK's S. Madeshwaran by a margin of 30,856 votes.
DMK lost all six seats it contested while AIADMK won eight seats for which it fielded its candidates. PMK, an ally in the DMK combine, lost the three seats it contested. The party had four MLAs from Salem district in the outgoing assembly.
AIADMK's M. K. Selvaraj posted the highest margin for a win of 60,215 votes against DMK S. R. Sivalingam in Salem South while G. K. Mani lost the battle by the lowest margin of 2,594 votes in Mettur in the district.
The other DMK candidates who lost included A. Rajendiran (Veerapandi) who lost to his cousin and AIADMK's S. K. Selvam, Yercaud sitting MLA C .Tamilselvan who was beaten by AIADMK's former MLA S. Perumal and R. Rajenthiran (Salem West) who had lost to K. Venkatachalam of AIADMK.
Collector and District Election Officer J. Chandrakumar earlier inspected the counting at various centres in the district.
Our Namakkal Staff Reporter adds:
Fireworks across the district by cadres of All India Anna Dravida Munetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) and its ally Desiya Murpoku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) marked the victory celebrations of candidates of the alliance as it swept the assembly elections in all the six assembly segments in Namakkal district.
AIADMK won all the four assembly segments where it contested – Rasipuram (SC) and Namakkal and newly-formed assembly segments Paramathi-Velur and Kumarapalayam. DMDK candidates won the two other assembly segments – Senthamangalam (ST) and Tiruchengode.
AIADMK and its allies were leading in all the assembly segments right from round one in the counting that ran up to 24 rounds in some assembly segments. There was a mild slump in the lead for DMDK candidate R. Santhi in Senthamangalam (ST) assembly segment from rounds five to seven. However she recovered from round eight and maintained it till she was declared winner with a margin of 8,505 votes.
Of the total 1,61,295 votes polled in this assembly segment Santhi polled 76,637 votes against the 68,132 votes secured by Ponnusamy. It is worth mentioning that she is the only women candidate representing a political party to contest in this district.
In Rasipuram assembly segment – the district's only SC reserve assembly segment – former Food and Cooperatives Minister P. Dhanapal (AIADMK) defeated former immediate past Deputy Speaker V.P. Duraisamy by 24,717 votes. Of the total 1,62,217 votes polled in this assembly segment Mr. Dhanapal secured 90,186 votes while Mr. Duraisamy secured 65,469 votes and stood second.
AIADMK's first time MLA candidate K.P.P. Baskar won the elections in Namakkal assembly segment – that faced the elections as a general segment after 34 years – with a margin of 35,855 votes (highest margin in the district). He secured 95,579 of the total 1,69,649 votes polled in this assembly segment while his main opponent K. Deverajan of Kongu Munetra Kazhagam came second with 59,724 votes.
Kongu Ilaygnar Peravai's U. Thaniyarasu who stood with the AIADMK banner was declared the first MLA of newly-formed Paramathi-Velur assembly segment with a margin of 31,018 votes over his opponent C. Vadivel of Patali Makkal Katchi (PMK). Of the total 1,51,705 votes cast by voters of this assembly segment Mr. Thaniyarasu secured 82,682 votes and was followed by Mr. Vadivel with 51,664 votes.
DMDK's District Secretary P. Sampathkumar defeated his nearest opponent M.R. Sundaram of Congress by 23,945 votes in the Tiruchengode assembly segment.
Of the total 1,49,845 votes polled in this assembly segment Sampathkumar secured 78,103 votes while Mr. Sundaram polled 54,158 votes.
AIADMK's District Secretary P. Thangamani who won was elected as MLA for the first time with a marginal victory in Tiruchengode in the 2006 assembly elections was declared the first MLA of newly-formed Kumarapalayam assembly segment. DMK's G. Selvaraj who came second in this assembly segment lost to Thangamani by a margin of 26,887 votes.
Of the total 1,60,955 votes polled in this assembly segment Mr. Thangamani secured 91,077 votes while Mr. Selvaraj secured 64,190 votes.
Delay in counting
District Revenue Officer R. Seethalakshmi advised the Counting Supervisors of Namakkal assembly segment to write the number of votes polled by the candidates clearly in order to avoid delay in tallying the votes that had been polled by them and to announce the results on time.
She made this announcement after the announcement of votes that had been polled in the very first round got delayed and was done only after 9.45 a.m.
But for minor incidents, counting of votes was peaceful in Namakkal district at the only counting centre at Vivekanandha Educational Institutions for Women near Tiruchengode on Friday.
Against the scheduled time for opening postal ballots at 8 a.m. the seal of the postal ballot box in Rasipuram assembly segment was opened late by 20 minutes due to a minor argument between DMK candidate V.P. Duraisamy and observer of that assembly segment.
Election Officials said that Mr. Duraisamy was visiting all the counting tables in the counting hall of that assembly segment and was asked not to do so by the Observer.
While an argument broke between the two the issue was set right after the DMK candidate left the counting hall.
However counting officials and staff of Rasipuram assembly segment proceeded to start counting the votes polled in the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and managed to announce the final result before the other five assembly segments.
The Observer when contacted said that it was a negligible incident.
While it was strictly announced that agents should have their food and take their seats at their respective counting tables before 7:45 a.m., food packets were given to agents of Kumarapalayam assembly segment only at 8:20 a.m. – after counting of postal ballots began. Election officials said that the delay in distributing food to them was due to delay in receiving food packets.
No major snags
Technical persons from BEL who were available in the counting centre to repair faulty EVMs and to retrieve data from such EVMs, said that there was no major technical snag with the EVMs throughout the day.
There were minor issues with five EVMs that were not closed properly but the data from those machines was recovered easily, they added.
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