‘Outsider’ Durai Vaiko seals victory with over 50 per cent of votes in Tiruchy

AIADMK candidate P Karuppaiah came a distant second by securing 2,29,119 votes.
Durai Vaiko receiving the winning certificate from returning officer 
M Pradeep Kumar
Durai Vaiko receiving the winning certificate from returning officer M Pradeep Kumar(Photo | M K Ashok Kumar)

TIRUCHY: It was nothing short of a bittersweet victory for MDMK leader Durai Vaiko who threw his hat in the Lok Sabha election ring this year by contesting as INDIA bloc’s candidate for Tiruchy and emerged victorious by securing about 5.4 lakh votes in the constituency.

From having to pursue a legal battle with the Election Commission of India (ECI) in order to contest the election in a separate symbol to overcoming his identity as an “outsider”, Vaiko faced many a challenge before securing a win margin of 3.13 lakh votes.

In the results announced on Tuesday, Durai Vaiko defeated 37 other candidates to secure 5,42,213 votes of the total 10,49,210 polled in the constituency. AIADMK candidate P Karuppaiah came a distant second by securing 2,29,119 votes.

After receiving the winning certificate from the returning officer, Durai Vaiko expressed gratitude to the voters in Tiruchy as well leaders and functionaries of INDIA bloc.

Vaiko had successfully managed to make the public of Tiruchy exercise their sense of pluralism again by giving mandate to one more “outsider” for the fifth time. In the past, Rangarajan Kumaramangalam (BJP), Dalit Ezhimalai (AIADMK), L Ganesan (MDMK) and Su Thirunavukkarasar (Congress) battled the identity and won the seat.

Durai Vaiko also withstood a different kind of pressure – from the DMK, the party’s ally. It may be recalled that he broke down at an introductory meeting organised by the DMK in Tiruchy after he was announced the contestant from Tiruchy Lok Sabha constituency. While the DMK suggested him to contest on its ‘rising sun’ symbol, Durai Vaiko was said to be firm on contesting on an independent symbol.

This came even as the MDMK lost its recognition from the ECI, thereby forfeiting also its ‘top’ symbol.

Following this, the party approached the Madras High Court. Despite the court asking to consider MDMK’s plea, the ECI expressed inability to allot the ‘top’ indicating norms related to allotment of a common symbol to a party which lost its recognition. Subsequently the ECI allotted ‘matchbox’ as its symbol.

With the help of the leaders of alliance parties, the ‘matchbox’ was then familiarised among Tiruchy voters as the INDIA bloc’s symbol within a short span of time.

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