After a neck-and-neck battle between the state’s heavyweights, MK Stalin’s Dravida Munnetra Kazahgam (DMK) defeated the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) in the Vellore Lok Sabha by-election.
DMK candidate Kathir Anand, son of senior leader Durai Murugan, won by a margin of 8,141 votes against the AIADMK’s AC Shanmugam. While the AIADMK initially led, its opponent took the lead after five rounds.
TTV Dhinakaran’s Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) and Kamal Haasan’s Makkal Needhi Maiam did not contest this time.
From raising slogans on their ‘Thalaivar’s contribution’ to bursting crackers, over 100 DMK cadre began celebrations at the party office around 2 pm.
The DMK’s victory can be attributed to the anti-BJP campaigns run in this constituency, which has a sizeable Muslim population. The AIADMK supporting the Centre on the issue of the Triple Talaq Bill in the Lok Sabha did not go down well with the Muslim population in Vellore even though the party changed its stance during the discussions in the Rajya Sabha ahead of the polls.
The DMK said its campaign against the BJP and the central government policies was behind the party’s sweep this time around.
However, a senior AIADMK leader maintained that the vote share of the party remained intact.
The Vellore by-poll was cancelled on the Election Commission’s decision over excessive use of money power after a large sum of cash was seized from the warehouse of a DMK candidate. The poll panel’s recommendation was made after cash seizures made from the premises of DMK treasurer Kathir Anand’s house in Vellore on March 29.
Based on information that illegal cash was moved from a college owned by the Duraimurugan family to a cement warehouse in Vellore, a second I-T search was conducted on April 1 and Rs 11.53 crore was seized.