The Congress-DMK combine registered an emphatic victory in the Erode East Assembly by-election trouncing its main rival, the AIADMK-BJP alliance, by a huge margin of over 66,000 votes, signalling an endorsement of the MK Stalin government which came to power in the state in 2021.
In the first bypolls faced by the DMK, its ally, Congress candidate EVKS Elangovan won the Erode East seat, securing 1,10,156 votes, (64.58 per cent), overcoming his nearest rival, KS Thennarasu, of the AIADMK who got 43,923 votes.
This is the fifth such victory of the DMK-Congress alliance over rival AIADMK-BJP in the last five years – right from the time Edappadi K Palaniswami took over leadership of the AIADMK in 2017 after the death of J Jayalalithaa.
The AIADMK defeat comes despite the party getting the two leaves symbol.
The victory for the Congress in this constituency has come as a shot in the arm for the party, which didn’t receive good news from the north-east, where it was not able to form a government in the three states of Nagaland, Tripura and Meghalaya. The success in Erode East by-election is also more of a consolation prize for the Congress, much like its victories in the West Bengal (Sagardighi) and Maharashtra (Kasba Peth) assembly bypolls.
The Erode (East) by-election was necessitated by the death of Elangovan’s son, E Thirumagan Everaa. Congress had won the seat in the 2021 Assembly elections, and thus retained its seat.
Introspection time for AIADMK-BJP combine
The results also calls for the AIADMK and BJP to introspect and do some soul-searching to identify the factors resulting in successive defeats at the hands of the DMK in the state.
Stalin said the result showed that the people of Tamil Nadu had given an endorsement of his government’s policies and schemes for betterment of people’s lives. It also revealed that the people rejected the hollow claims of the AIADMK and the BJP, he said adding that it was a forerunner to the success in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
The victory can be called an excellent birthday present by the Congress to Stalin who turned 70 on March 1.
On the other hand, Palaniswami maintained that the election result was a victory for money power and misuse of official machinery by the DMK government.
BJP state president K Annamalai said lack of unity in the AIADMK was responsible for the election verdict.