PUDUKKOTTAI: As a rule, by-elections are predictable and boring. The thumb rule says they go in favour of the ruling party. AIADMK rebel T T V Dhinakaran bucked the trend by winning the RK Nagar as an Independent. In fact, he is the fifth person in Tamil Nadu to have snatched victory out of the hands of ruling parties in Assembly bypolls since 1991.Winning by-elections acquired added importance in the State since 1991 after J Jayalalithaa came to power. Remember her first tenure as chief minister (1991-1996)? A humongous Jaya wave swept DMK away, leaving party chief M Karunanidhi as the lone winner. He resigned his Chennai Harbour seat immediately, following which by-election was called in 1991.
DMK fielded Selvarasan, who defeated K Subbu of the Congress by 3,236 votes. Subbu lost though the Congress was in alliance with the ruling AIADMK. While Selvarasan polled 19,347 votes, Subbu secured 16, 111. In 1999, when DMK returned to power, there were upset victories in two Assembly by-elections at Natham in Dindugal district and Thiruvattar in Kanniyakumari district.
In Natham, AIADMK’s R Viswanathan polled 38,764, defeating MDMK’s P Chellam — DMK coalition candidate — by over 7,000 votes. Chellam got 31, 220 votes. The bypoll was necessitated because of the death of M Andi Ambalam of Tamil Maanila Congress. In the Thiruvattaur bypoll, CPM’s J Hemachandran wrested the seat from the ruling DMK by defeating its candidate A Pushpa Leela Alban. The by-election happened following the death of DMK’s Dr V Alban.
Five years later in 2004 when the AIADMK was back in power, by-election was conducted to Mangalore Assembly constituency of Cuddalore district following the resignation of VCK chief Thol Thirumavalavan. The bypoll was held along with the Lok Sabha elections. In this by-election, V Ganeshan of DMK secured 61,956 votes and won the seat, while AIADMK’s K Ramalingam could manage only 48,070.
Needless to say, in all other by-elections conducted since 1991, the ruling parties emerged victorious.
Dhinakaran in the first candidate in 13 long years to defeat the ruling party in a by-election. Thirteen? Isn’t that seen as inauspicious?
Other opposition bypoll winners in TN since 1991
R Viswanathan (AIADMK)
J Hemachandran (CPM)
V Ganeshan (DMK)