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Heavy turnout in TN bypoll; AIADMK boycott adds political twist

Record voter-turnout of 77.73 per cent by 5 pm

Heavy turnout in TN bypoll; AIADMK boycott adds political twist

Represetational Picture

Byelections in Tamil Nadu are no longer seen as a barometer to gauge the performance of the government. But, Wednesday’s bypoll for Vikravandi has received political significance with the principal opposition All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) opting out of the contest.

With the AIADMK not in the race, it is a three-cornered fight among the ruling DMK, the OBC Vanniyar-dominant Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), a constituent of the BJP-led NDA, and the Tamil nationalist Naam Tamilar Katchi (NTK) of filmmaker Seeman. Brisk polling was witnessed since early morning and it reached a record turnout of 77.73 per cent by 5 pm.

The bypoll was necessitated by the demise of DMK legislator N Pugazhenthi in April this year. A total of 29 candidates are in the fray in the constituency, which has a high concentration of Vanniyar community. The DMK has fielded Anniyur Siva, party’s agriculture labourers’ wing secretary, while the PMK has nominated C Anbumani. The NTK candidate is K Abinaya, who unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha election from Dharmapuri.

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In boycotting the bypoll on the pretext that the ruling party will not allow free and fair polling, the AIADMK has taken a gamble. While the decision has been criticised by many quarters, it is seen as a ploy to wean away the PMK from the NDA for a potential alliance for the 2026 assembly poll. With all the three main contenders having wooed the AIADMK voters, it remains to be seen which way their votes have gone.

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