On Sunday the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) captured power in Tamil Nadu a decade later. In the absence of a charismatic leadership, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) also managed to survive a massive test. The total AIADMK tally of 66 seats was its highest in defeat.
The Tamil Nadu Assembly Elections saw ten ministers biting the dust. However, those with massive corruption allegations against their name won comfortably.
The two major Dravidian parties continued with their dominance in the polls again while three other fronts – Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) led by T.T.V. Dhinakaran, actor Kamal Haasan's Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) and the Tamil nationalist party Naam Tamilar Katchi (NTK) – returned empty handed.
While the Congress sprang a surprise by winning 18 seats, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) made its comeback to the assembly after two decades. The Left parties have a lot to introspect over as the two managed to win two seats each out of the total 12 they contested.
DMK STRENGTHENS STRONGHOLDS
The DMK managed to reign supreme in its traditional strongholds. The party won a handy number of seats in Chennai and its surrounding districts while improving its tally in the south and delta regions.
It was almost a sweep for the DMK and its allies in the northern districts. Of the 78 seats in the north, the Secular Progressive Alliance (SPA) won a whopping 64 seats while the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) was left with only 14 seats. Several ministers from the region lost their electoral battle to DMK candidates.
The delta region proved handy for the DMK, with the party and its allies securing 37 of the 41 seats, leaving a paltry four seats to the AIADMK and NDA. The sustained struggle against the three Farm Laws and the strength of the Left parties helped in securing a huge victory in the region. The farm loan waivers and the repeated claims by the AIADMK that the laws were stacked in favour of the farmers had little takers in the region.
The AIADMK has always had the strong backing of the southern districts, but this election proved otherwise.The SPA won 39 of the 58 seats, an increase from 26 seats from the previous elections. The NDA had to contend with 19, down from the AIADMK's tally of 32 in 2016 elections. The BJP won 2 seats in the southern districts.
WEST REMAINS WITH AIADMK
The saving face for the AIADMK was the western region, which once again voted overwhelmingly in support of the party despite multiple allegations and controversies. The AIADMK and its allies won 40 of the 57 seats, just five less than their 2016 tally. The districts of Coimbatore, Salem and Erode alone accounted for 30 seats for the NDA.
The alliance with the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) also helped the AIADMK in retaining its base. The BJP also won two seats here, namely Modakurichi and Coimbatore South.
The local administration minister S.P. Velumani and electricity minister P. Thangamani won from the region, despite massive charges of corruption against the duo. Anti-corruption body Arappor Iyakkam exposed a scam behind tenders in the highways department which was handled by Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami himself.
The deputy speaker in the outgoing assembly, Pollachi V Jayaraman also won comfortably, in spite of allegations of his son’s involvement in the Pollachi sexual abuse case.
CONGRESS SURPRISES; BJP BACK IN THE ASSEMBLY
The Congress, written off as an underperformer in the previous two assembly elections, saved face by winning 18 of the 25 seats it contested. The party faced the BJP in five seats and won from four of them.
The party also won the bye-election to the Kanyakumari Lok Sabha seat with its candidate Vijay Vasanth defeating former union minister Pon Radhakrishnan by more than 1.37 lakh votes.
The BJP made its re-entry to the assembly after a two decade-long gap. The party contested in 20 constituencies and managed to win four of them. The BJP had a similar number of MLAs in 2001, winning alongside the DMK-led alliance then.
Vanathi Srinivasan, the BJP Mahila Morcha president, won from Coimbatore South, while veteran leader M.R. Gandhi won from Nagercoil. Former AIADMK minister Nainar Nagendran won from Tirunelveli and C.R. Saraswathi defeated former DMK minister Subbulakshmi Jagadeesan in Modakurichi.
BJP’s star candidates, including state president Dr L. Murugan, former national secretary H. Raja, ex-IPS officer K. Annamalai and actress Kushboo Sundar lost their electoral battles.
Victory in four seats has raised the party's morale with another ally, the PMK, also making a comeback to the assembly with five members.
‘LEFT PARTIES UNDERPERFORM'
The two left parties – Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI(M)) and the Communist Party of India (CPI) – contested twelve seats in all and won only two each. The parties had been hoping to win at least 4 seats apiece, but the results have jolted their camps.
The CPI(M) was confident of winning the Dindigul constituency against sitting MLA and former minister Dindugal Sreenivasan, but lost by a huge margin. The party also lost Thiruparankundram, where its only woman candidate lost to former MP and former Madurai Mayor V.V. Rajan Chellappa.
The CPI had its hopes pinned on winning Valparai and Tiruppur North constituencies, but had to contend with Thalli and Thiruthuraipoondi.
The parties, despite dedicating their time to lead struggles highlighting the plight of the common people, have suffered a setback, despite a strong alliance behind them as well. The money power of the AIADMK could have contributed to the losses, but the failure of the parties to convert their mass base into votes, has always been an issue.
The MNM, apart from its leader Kamal Haasan, made little impact and secured 2.5% of the state's votes. The AMMK foiled the AIADMK's prospects in a few seats and managed only 2.3% votes. The NTK managed to win a considerable vote share in rural constituencies, increasing its vote share to 6.6% in the polls.