AIADMK general secretary and Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa was returned to the Tamil Nadu assembly on Tuesday by a record victory margin from the Radkhakrishnan Nagar constituency here.
Jayalalithaa polled 160,432 votes while her nearest rival, Communist Party of India’s (CPI) C. Mahendran, got just 9,710 votes — a victory margin of 150,722 votes.
The total electorate in the constituency was around 245,000, and the chief minister bagged more than 50 percent of that.
As noisy celebrations erupted at the AIADMK headquarters and outside Jayalalithaa’s residence, Tamil Nadu Governor K. Rosaiah congratulated her over her landslide win, an official statement said.
AIADMK activists and leaders generously distributed sweets to all and sundry and burst crackers to celebrate the thumping victory — a record of sorts for Jayalalithaa.
An elated Jayalalithaa thanked voters and AIADMK supporters for her massive victory and said the result was a forerunner for the 2016 assembly elections.
This is the seventh by-poll victory for AIADMK since it came to power in 2011. The party has won all the by-polls held since 2011.
As counting of votes began at 8 a.m. here on Tuesday, Jayalalithaa began to build a massive lead over her rivals.
In 2006, AIADMK’s P.K. Sekarbabu polled 84,462 votes in Radhakrishnan Nagar. In 2011, P. Vetrivel of AIADMK got 83,777 votes and defeated Sekarbabu, who by then was in the DMK. Vetrivel’s victory margin was over 31,000 votes.
This time the polling percentage was higher at around 74 percent, up form 72.72 percent in 2011.
While there were 28 candidates in the fray, only CPI’s Mahendran was viewed as a serious opponent for Jayalalithaa.
Major opposition parties like the DMK, the PMK, the DMDK, the Congress, the BJP and the MDMK stayed away from the contest.
The two Left parties – CPI and CPI-M – fielded Mahendran as their joint candidate.
However, going by the votes polled by Jayalalithaa, it is clear the vote banks of the opposition parties fell into Jayalalithaa’s kitty and did not go to the CPI candidate.
The Radhakrishnan Nagar seat fell vacant after AIADMK’s Vetrivel resigned from the house to facilitate Jayalalithaa’s re-election to the assembly.
Jayalalithaa, elected from Srirangam in 2011, lost that seat and the chief minister’s post after a trial court in Bengaluru convicted her in the disproportionate assets case.
The Karnataka High Court upheld her appeal and acquitted her of all charges. Jayalalithaa was again sworn in as chief minister, but she has to get elected to the assembly within six months.
The Karnataka government has gone on appeal against the high court order in the Supreme Court.