Erode (TN): Congress' E V K S Elangovan established a comfortable lead of over 18,000 votes against his nearest rival K S Thennarasu of the AIADMK in the Erode East Assembly bypoll. The counting of polled votes was proceeding on Thursday.
The clear lead of the ruling DMK-backed Elangovan, at the end of the third round of counting, prompted celebrations from supporters of the Dravidian party-headed Secular Progressive Alliance (SPA), whose other constituents include the two Left parties.
After three rounds of counting, Elangovan secured 27,843 votes while Thennarasu polled 9,146 votes, according to election authorities.
Menaka Navaneethan Naam Tamilar Katchi and DMDK's Anand secured 1,820 and 256 votes, respectively.
Commenting on the early trends that could possibly ensure his win, Elangovan said it was an indication that SPA would sweep the 2024 Lok Sabha elections in the state as well. While Tamil Nadu has 39 LS seats, neighbouring Puducherry has one.
The Erode East bypoll was necessitated due to the death of Congress MLA E Thirumahan Everaa, Elangovan's son on January 4.
Nearly 75 per cent of votes were polled in the by-election held on February 27 in this constituency in Erode district, located some 400 km from the capital Chennai.
The counting of votes began at 8 am, and the exercise is expected to be completed before 5 pm.
The bypoll, termed by DMK President and Chief Minister M K Stalin as 'Edai podum therthal,' a byelection to weigh all the good work completed within 22 months after he took over the reins of power, is expected to be a test of the government's popularity and set the mood for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
Fare-free travel for women in State-run town buses was among the 85 per cent of 'fulfilled promises' that were underscored by Stalin in his campaign.
The main opposition AIADMK strained every nerve to take on the ruling party over a string of issues including a rise in electricity tariffs and the DMK regime not getting an exemption for the State from NEET to make its electoral mark. The campaign was led by Edappadi K Palaniswami and challenger O Panneerselvam's camp, which withdrew its candidate and disappeared from the poll scene.
For the AIADMK, the Supreme Court's directive allowing Palaniswami to continue to lead the party proved to be a much-needed shot in the arm for the party.
The official said that the polled 1,70,192 votes on February 27 for the bypoll would be counted at the Institute of Road and Transport Engineering college premises here.
The turnout was 74.79 per cent with the constituency having a total of 2,27,547 voters.