THENI: It was at the Theni Lok Sabha constituency that the AIADMK gained a purchase on when it was about to be swept away by the DMK juggernaut; the saviour was P Ravindranath Kumar, son of Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and the party’s candidate from Theni. His is the only seat the incumbents managed to win this election, and a remarkable feat it is, given that Ravindranath tasted victory despite being a fresh face in the hustings.
When the first round of counting ended, the AIADMK candidate had received 21,747 votes and Congress candidate EVKS Elangovan 17,257 votes. NTK candidate Shagul Hameed and AMMK candidate Thanga Tamilselvan secured 1,206 and 77,69 votes respectively. Votes for MNM candidate Radhakrishnan stood at 636.
A veteran politician and a former union minister, EVKS Elangovan was a rival to reckon with for the AIADMK candidate. Putting more pressure on him was AMMK stalwart Thanga Tamilselvan, who had been elected MLA from Andipatti assembly segment thrice.
The counting progressed well into the night, with Congress cadre refusing to let go of hope. However, it was the mandate of the people and win Ravindranath Kumar did. When the last vote was counted in the wee hours of Friday, Ravindranath emerged victorious with 5,04,813 votes, 76,693 more than Elangovan’s 4,28,120 votes.
Quid pro quo
Now that they have sent Ravindranath Kumar to the Lok Sabha, the electorate here expect that he would address their long-standing demands, including laying of railway tracks between Bodi and Kumuli, and completion of broad-gauge conversion between Madurai and Bodi. Speaking to Express, Muniyandi of Theni said that the new MP should take steps to establish a mango-juice factory and a grape-wine factory here.