V Senthil Balaji , who won the Aravakurichi assembly seat for the second time in the last three years, is the only MLA among those disqualified to win again.
He will also have the distinction of being an MLA who represented two parties in the same assembly term. Balaji was elected on AIADMK ticket in 2016 and now he will be sworn shortly as DMK MLA. Balaji was disqualified by speaker P Dhanapal in 2017 for having joined the faction led by former chief minister J Jayalalithaa’s close aide V K Sasikala. Though he remained close to AMMK leader T T V Dhinakaran after his disqualification, he joined DMK later and was made the party’s district secretary in charge of Karur. Soon after the byelections were announced, Balaji was chosen to contest from the same constituency where he defeated AIADMK candidate V V Senthilnathan by a margin of 37,957 votes.
Except Balaji none of the other disqualified MLAs resigned from AMMK but except a few, all of them either contested the byelection or the Lok Sabha election. However, all of them lost and some of them even lost their deposit for not securing at least one-sixth of the votes polled. On Thursday night, Senthil Balaji registered a comfortable win with 98,154 votes against arch rival V V Senthilnathan of AIADMK who polled 60,064 votes. With 7,217 votes, AMMK candidate P H Shahul Hameed came third followed by P K Selvam of Naam Tamilar Katchi with 2,228 votes. Known as master poll strategist, Senthil Balaji, during his campaign, had promised 3 cents of land for 25,000 families in Aravakurichi free of cost.
Despite the ruling AIADMK ridiculing his claims as lies to lure voters, Balaji has triumphed. Infamous for distribution of cash for votes by political parties, assembly polls were deferred in Aravakurchi during the 2016 assembly polls. However, bypoll was held in November the same year and Senthil Balaji emerged winner on AIADMK ticket. Within eight months, he along with 17 others was disqualified following which bypolls were held on May 19. Balaji called on party president M K Stalin at the party headquarters on Friday.