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May 17, 2009

CPM Wins in coimbatore !


The Communist Party of India (Marxist) won the Coimbatore Lok Sabha Constituency, with its candidate P.R. Natarajan defeating five-time Congress MP R. Prabhu by a margin of 38,664 votes. Effectively, the Left retained the seat as the Communist Party of India’s K. Subbarayan won in the 2004 elections.

Individually, the CPI (M) has won the seat for the second time after the win by K. Ramani in 1967. Mr. Natarajan is the son-in-law of the late Ramani and district secretary of the party. The 2009 elections saw Mr. Natarjan contesting for the second time. He contested in 1996, but finished third after the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s M. Ramanathan and Congress’ C.K. Kuppuswamy.

This time, Mr. Natarajan polled 2,93,165 votes, out of the 8,24,047 valid votes (including 1,481 valid postal votes), while Mr. Prabhu’s tally was 2,54,501. E.R. Easwaran of the Kongunadu Munnetra Kazhagam came third with 1,28,070 votes. Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam’s R. Pandian had 73,188 votes at the end of the 17th and final round of counting. G.K.S. Selvakumar of the Bharatiya Janata Party and K. Ramasubramanian of the Bahujan Samaj Party polled 37,909 votes and 2,937 votes respectively. Mr. Natarajan took the lead in the first round itself and sustained it between 1,000 and 2,000 votes in each round. Only in third round Mr. Prabhu managed 937 votes more than the CPI (M) candidate. But, Mr. Nataraj overtook him with a nearly 1,500 vote margin in the next round and sustained it. Prior to the elections, Mr. Natarajan told The Hindu that the carving out of Tirupur as a separate district and a Lok Sabha Constituency would not hamper his prospects though a large workforce was in this area. He said Coimbatore North and Kavundampalayam would more than compensate for this.

Though not a major difference, Mr. Natarjan polled about 16,000 votes more than Mr. Prabhu in Kavundampalayam and 6,500 votes more in Coimbatore North. The CPI (M) candidate got 8,000-odd votes more than the Congressman in Palladam, where Mr. Easwaran overtook Mr. Prabhu (30,533) by polling 36,558 votes.

Mr. Natarajan told presspersons at the counting centre at the Government College of Technology that his win was proof of the faith the voters had in the alliance led by the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhgam. “My win here reveals the resentment against the Government and people’s faith in me has won over money power.”

On what his priorities were, he said: “I will work for development in Coimbatore. As I said earlier, priority is for the uplift of the urban poor.”On whether he would be at a disadvantage in pushing schemes for Coimbatore if he were to be in the Opposition, Mr. Natarajan said: “Members of Parliament should coordinate with MLAs and the local bodies on development schemes. As an MP, I will do that. I hope the others will not politicise development. But, if they do, I will expose this before the people.”

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