AIADMK on road to victory, NOTA 3,504

Chennai, Dec 8: Tamil Nadu’s ruling AIADMK’s P. Saroja Sunday took an unassailable lead of over 61,000 votes over her DMK rival V. Maran in the Yercaud by-election, officials said.

With her candidate’s victory almost ensured, Chief Minister and AIADMK general secretary J. Jayalalithaa said the result reflected people’s backing to her government.

Addressing a meeting assembled at her home here, Jayalalithaa thanked party cadres for the victory. AIADMK supporters burst fire crackers and distributed sweets at the party headquarters here.

According to the Election Commission, Saroja has polled 115,282 votes, compared to DMK Maran’s 54,202.

But the number of voters who exercised the ‘None of the Above’ option stood at 3,504.

Eleven candidates were in the fray in the Yercaud by-election held Dec 4.

The election in the hill station, around 360 km from here, was announced after AIADMK legislator C. Perumal died in July, bringing down the AIADMK strength in the 235-member assembly to 150. Saroja is Perumal’s wife.

This is the fourth assembly by-election in Tamil Nadu after the AIADMK took power in May 2011.

It won all three earlier by-elections — in Pudukottai, Sankarankoil and Tiruchirapalli (West) constituencies.