The ruling Congress in Puducherry on Thursday retained the Kamaraj Nagar Assembly seat with its nominee A John Kumar emerging victorious in the by-poll, defeating his nearest AINRC rival S Bhuvaneswarane by a margin of 7,170 votes. While John Kumar, a confidante of Chief Minister V Narayanasamy, polled 14,782 votes out of the total 24,310 polled in the by-election held on October 21, the AINRC nominee secured 7,612 votes.
Counting of votes was held at the Motilal Nehru Government Polytechynic College in neighbouring Lawspet amid tight security. Nine contestants were in the fray while the main contest was between the ruling Congress and the opposition AINRC. With the win, the Congress' strength in the territorial Assembly has been restored to 15 in which the Congress enjoys the support of the DMK, its alliance partner, from outside.
The territorial assembly has 30 elected legislators and three nominated members. The by-poll was necessitated after the incumbent legislator V Vaithilingam (Congress) quit following his election to the Lok Sabha from the lone seat here in April this year.
The poll was seen as a battle for pride between the Congress and the AINRC in general and between the Chief Minister and opposition leader and AINRC founder N Rangasamy in particular.