Record turnout in R K Nagar
Record turnout in R K Nagar

Record turnout in R K Nagar

S Murari

Over 80 per cent of the estimated two lakh plus voters cast their votes in the R K Nagar by-election to the Tamil Nadu Assembly. It was a record high. When late Chief Minister J Jayalalitha contested from this constituency in 2016, the percentage was only 67.9 per cent.

Jayalalitha won from this constituency twice in succession. She won it in the 2015 by-election when sitting AIADMK member P Vetrivel vacated it for her to enable to resume office as Chief Minister following her acquittal in the assets case by the Karnataka High Court. She retained it in the 2016 Assembly elections. The present election has been caused by her death in December last year.

According to district returning officer Chennai Corporation Commissioner D Karthikeyan, the turout was 74.5 per cent at 5 pm today when polling ended. Those who were in the queue at that time will be eligible to vote. Thus the final figure may exceed 80 per cent.

Karthikeyan said the polling was "brisk and peaceful".

In the fray are AIADMK presidium chairman E Madhusoodhanan, rebel AIADMK candidate T T V Dinakaran, DMK's Marudhu Ganesh and BJP's Karu Nagarajan.

Seeing the massive turnout as a good augury for him, Dinakaran said people had turned out in large number to teach a lesson to Chief Minister Edappadi Palanisami and his Deputy O Pannerselvam who had indulged in "all sorts of malpractices" to retain the seat as they had the government in their hands and the AIADMK symbol with them.

DMK candidate Ganesh said he was confident that his party would win. “Voters of RK Nagar will teach a lesson to AIADMK this time,” AIADMK candidate Madhusudhanan, on the other hand, said, “God and amma’s grace is with us.”

Bharatiya Janata Party candidate Karu Nagarajan alleged that his rivals were bribing voters with cash, and said that “people trust” him.

DMK leader leader Manu Sundaram said, “Regardless of what the judgment was, we were always well poised to win the RK Nagar bye-poll. But, now with this positive verdict, the margin of our victory will be much more.”