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Tamil Nadu bypoll: Congress retains Erode East, registers historic win

The election was marred by cash for votes and there was free flow of gifts

EVKS Elangovan (File) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin during a campaign in support of the DMK-backed Secular Progressive Alliance candidate E.V.K.S. Elangovan for the Erode (East) Assembly seat bypoll | PTI

Congress candidate E.V.K.S. Elangovan won the Erode East bypoll by a huge margin securing 1,10,556 votes. The DMK-backed Congress registered a landslide victory, only to retain the Erode East constituency in its kitty. The AIADMK candidate Thennarasu secured 43,981 votes, finishing as the runner-up in the bypoll which was necessitated by the death of Elangovan’s son Thirumahan EVeRa, on January 4.

“This victory was expected. It is a recognition of Chief Minister Stalin’s governance. He has completed almost 80 per cent of the poll promises in 20 months. This is also an example of how much love and affection the people have towards our leader Rahul Gandhi,” Elangovan told the media as the results were declared. 

While 77 candidates contested the polls, the battle was between the Congress supported by the DMK, and the AIADMK. Seeman’s Naam Thamizhar Katchi also played a crucial role in the bypoll, with its Menaka Navaneethan being the only woman candidate in the fray. Also, DMDK’s N. Anand was in the fray, finishing fourth in the race. Menaka registered 10,804 votes. 

The bypoll was marred by cash for votes and there was free flow of gifts from both the Dravidian parties--DMK and the AIADMK. The DMK which worked 24/7 for the Congress, was accused of luring the voters with cash and expensive gifts. In fact, there were accusations of the DMK hoarding the people under special sheds, constructed in each ward, giving them money and free food every day. AIADMK’s interim general secretary Edappadi K. Palanisami described DMK’s victory as “defeat of the democracy.” 

However, the Erode East bypolls and the results are likely to alter the equations within the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee. Elangovan, sources say will soon take over as the Legislative party leader of the Congress replacing K. Selvaperunthagai. Incidentally, the DMK which is carrying Congress on its piggyback in Tamil Nadu for the past several years is expected to retain the alliance in the 2024 parliamentary polls. Sources say the DMK-Congress alliance will continue while Thol. Thirumavalavan’s VCK is expected to walk out of the alliance due to the growing differences in the alliance.

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