On April 18, as many as 2.13 lakh voters in Sulur exercised their franchise in the Parliamentary election. Of those, 94,603 voters (44.24% ) had voted for the Communist Party of India (Marxist) candidate P.R. Natarajan. He was a part of the DMK-led Secular Progressive Alliance. Bharatiya Janata Party’s C.P. Radhakrishnan had garnered 74,683 votes or 34.93% of the total votes polled.
The difference between the two candidates in the Assembly segment was 19,920 votes in favour of Mr. Natarajan.
This changed when the Sulur voters exercised their franchise in the by-election to the constituency, which was held on May 19, a month after the Parliamentary election. This time, not only more voters turned out to vote but they also polled in favour of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam candidate V.P. Kandasamy. As many as 2.26 lakh voters had voted and of those 1,00,782 had voted for Mr. Kandasamy. In other words, 44.39% of the electorate had preferred him. The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s Pongalur N. Palanisamy secured 90,669 votes or 39.94% of the total votes polled.
Comparison of the two results showed that within a month, AIADMK-alliance had managed to garner 9,807 votes more (difference between votes polled in the Parliamentary election and Assembly by-election).
Commenting on the result, Mr. Palanisamy said that nothing other than the use of money power by the AIADMK would explain the moving away of 22,165 voters, as they were as much anti-AIADMK as anti-BJP. Given the poor development in the Sulur constituency like drinking water problem, condition of basic amenities and the intense campaign by the DMK-led Secular Progressive Alliance, he was confident of winning.
The other factor that could have also weighed in the minds of the voters was the death of AIADMK MLA R. Kanagaraj. AIADMK MLA-elect Mr. Kandasamy could not be reached for comments.
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