P.R. Natarajan records second highest victory margin among Left candidates

The CPI (M) candidate polled 5,71,150 votes, which was 1,79,143 more than C.P. Radhakrishnan’s 3,92,007

The margin with which Communist Party of India (Marxist)’s P.R. Natarajan defeated Bharatiya Janata Party’s C.P. Radhakrishnan is the second highest in the last 12 Parliamentary election for a Left party candidate.

In the just-concluded election, Mr. Natarajan polled 5,71,150 votes, which was 1,79,143 more than Mr. Radhakrishnan’s 3,92,007. The victory margin of 1.79 lakh votes translates to 14.32% of the total votes polled.

This is next only to Communist Party of India leader K. Subbarayan’s 18.72% victory margin in the 2004 Parliamentary election, in which he incidentally defeated Mr. Radhakrishnan. In the election Mr. Subbarayan had polled 5.04 lakh votes and Mr. Radhakrishnan 3.40 lakh votes.

The credit for having the highest victory margin in the last 12 elections since 1977 goes to M. Ramanathan of the DMK, who, in 1996, defeated C.K. Kuppuswamy of the Indian National Congress. His victory margin is 32.17%.

Aside from the second highest victory margin, the latest election result is also significant for Mr. Natarajan because in the 2014 Parliamentary election he forfeited his security deposit, polling just 34,197 votes.

As for the BJP, this is the fourth straight defeat in the Coimbatore Parliamentary constituency, which it has considered a strong hold after the consolidation of Hindu votes after the 1998 Coimbatore serial bomb blast.

In the 1998 election, Mr. Radhakrishnan won for the first time by a margin of 1.44 lakh votes (17.98%). Thirteen months thereafter in the 1999 election, he won again but with a reduced victory margin of 54,077 votes (6.19%).

In the four subsequent elections – 2004, 2009, 2014 and now 2019, the BJP has consistently lost, securing the second spot thrice and the fifth spot once – in 2009. It lost in 2014 even when there was a ‘Modi wave’.

Notwithstanding the successive defeats, the BJP still considers Coimbatore a stronghold, says the party’s State treasurer S.R.Seghar. “This is a temporary setback. The opposition won because it was successful in its propaganda. Plus there was an anti-incumbency factor. The party will bounce back as it has a strong support base,” he explains.

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