Vilathikulam, which has long been the AIADMK stronghold, gives way to DMK after 25 years. It was in 1996 that Vilathikulam last elected a DMK candidate. After declaring the victory with a total of 90,348 votes to his credit at the end of 23 rounds of counting, Markandayan was beaming with pride as he defeated the sitting AIADMK MLA P Chinnappan, who was elected twice from this constituency in 2006 and 2019.
With 51,799 votes in his favour, AIADMK’s Chinnappan was a distant second while there were 13 more in the fray for the Vilathikulam seat. The huge victory margin of 38,549 votes over his formidable rival candidate has given new clout to Markandayan, who represented the DMK this time.
Markandayan, the one-time MLA, who represented AIADMK in 2011, from the same constituency, later turned rebel as he was denied a ticket in 2016. But Vilathikulam constituency fell vacant after Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly disqualified K Uma Maheswari, who won on behalf of AIADMK in 2016 and was one of the 18 MLAs who parted ways with TTV Dhinakaran led AMMK. Even months later, Markandayan looked relentless in pursuit of victory and contested bypoll as an independent candidate from Vilathikulam in 2019 and secured 27,456 votes, sources said.
Both the winner and the runner-up are the sons of the soil and during a series of campaigns across the constituency ahead of polls, they promised to bring more developments in this most backward area of Vilathikulam. But ultimately, Markandayan has succeeded in winning the confidence of the people and a ticket to the State Assembly.