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|October 7, 1999||
DMK front makes solid gains in TN
The National Democratic Front in Tamil Nadu, led by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, captured 26 of the state's 39 seats, making a clean sweep in the northern districts.
Virtually reversing the 1998 verdict, the NDA alliance lost Salem, a key seat held by Union Petroleum Minister and Tamizhaga Rajiv Congress president Vazhapadi K Ramamurthy.
The remaining 13 seats were won by the All Indian Anna DMK-Congress-Left parties combine. The AIADMK secured 10, the Congress two and the CPI-M one.
With the results for all the seats officially declared, Chief Minister and DMK M Karunanidhi leaves for Delhi on Friday to attend the NDA meeting and to consult senior party leaders on the question of joining the government.
Other NDA leaders like Marumalarchi DMK general secretary Vaiko and Pattali Makkal Kachi founder leader Dr S Ramadoss are also expected to reach Delhi tomorrow.
Former Union ministers Murasoli Maran and T R Balu are among the 11 DMK candidates elected to the 13th Lok Sabha. Bharatiya Janata Party leader and Union Power Minister Rangarajan Kumaramangalam has been elected from Tiruchirapalli.
All the NDA's constituents have improved their tally, and the alliance made a clean sweep of northern Tamil Nadu. The DMK won 11 seats, as against six in the 1998. The PMK won five seats and the BJP and MDMK four each, improving their tally by a seat each.
In the last election, the AIADMK-led front, which then included the BJP, the MDMK, the PMK and the TRC, won 30 seats.
The AIADMK, however, retained its hold partially in southern Tamil Nadu known for its caste loyalties.
The Congress which won two seats this time was not represented in the last Lok Sabha. So also was the CPI-M whose candidate was elected from Madurai defeating former DMK minister Pon Muthuramalingam and Janata party president Dr Subramanian Swamy.
The results saw the rout of the Tamil Maanila Congress-led Third Front with TMC stalwarts and former Union ministers P Chidambaram, S R Balasubramanian and Dhanushkodi Adityan and firebrand Dalit leader and Puthiya Thamizhagam president Dr K Krishnasamy being defeated.
The MGR-ADMK made its Lok Sabha debut this time winning one seat -- in Pudukottai S Thirunavukkarasu defeated S Singaravadivelu of the Congress by 64,300 votes -- as also the MGR Kazhagam, which contested a seat on the DMK symbol.
Asked to comment on the AIADMK's success despite corruption charges against general secretary J Jayalalitha and other leaders, Karunanidhi, in an apparent reference to the victories of T T V Dinakaran, nephew of her close aide Sasikala Natrajan and former minister T M Selvaganapathy, said it appeared that "a section of the electorate likes COFEPOSA and burial ground corruption cases."
The DMK had made a vain bid to get Dinakaran's nomination papers rejected on the ground that he had declared allegiance to a foreign nation while fighting a foreign exchange violation case. The returning officer, however, accepted his papers and the chief electoral officer had said it was up to the DMK to move an election petition and argue the case before the high court.
Selvaganathy, who had been the local administration minister in the Jayalalitha regime, was facing a trial in a corruption case involving erection of sheds in burial grounds.
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