With Tamil Nadu’s 38 seats going to polls on April 18 (polling has been cancelled in one seat), the defeat of ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) looks imminent. This is the first election after two giants of the state – J.Jayalalitha and M.Karunanidhi – have passed away. While Jayalalitha’s party, the AIADMK, went into a tailspin after her death, in the rival Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), Karunanidhi’s passing away saw a smooth transition of the mantle to Stalin, his son. The state government run by AIADMK has spent a chaotic two years in power without their leader, with one faction splitting away, and constant bickering among the survivors. In the end they have aligned with the BJP which seeks a toe hold in this important southern state.
All these factors, including the unpopularity of the BJP and PM Narendra Modi in the state, point to an imminent defeat of the AIADMK-BJP alliance which includes several small parties like the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) and others. What would be the nature of this defeat?
Analysis of the 2016 Assembly elections data, projecting it to Parliamentary seats shows that even a small 5% swing away from the besieged AIADMK front will mean a severe loss for it. Projected from the Assembly results, the AIADMK front won 37 seats while the opposition DMK front could manage only 2 seats. But a 5% swing from AIADMK+ to DMK+ would upend this and the DMK+ front would get 21 seats while the AIADMK would plummet down to 18, losing 19 seats. As the swing projection is increased, the result gets more and more tilted towards the DMK led front.
What is the Most Likely Scenario?
Given the high degree of discontent over joblessness, farmers’ distress, land grab for infrastructure projects, Thoothukudi firing and growing anger towards the BJP’s attempt to communally polarise the people, it is quite likely that swing away from AIADMK will be closer to 7%. In that case, the DMK led front will get 28 seats while the AIADMK will end up with 11 only.
Experts believe that the AIADMK front will manage to win these seats only because of the support of all the smaller parties which represent various caste communities. Without this support, their performance would deteriorate even further.
The DMK front, on the other hand, would be gaining from the two Left parties, CPI and CPI(M), who have considerable following among industrial workers, employees and farmers. Tamil Nadu is a highly industrialised state and trade unions affiliated to the Left parties, especially CITU, is quite strong in industrial belts.
The defeat of the AIADMK-BJP front in Tamil Nadu will have a major effect on the prospects of the BJP and NDA when they sit down to tally their numbers after results are declared on May 23. Till now, 37 MPs of AIADMK were with NDA, and one BJP MP was also elected from the state.
But winning only 11 seats means a loss of 26 seats straightaway from the NDA. Seen in the context of the projected losses of BJP and its allies in most of the northern states, and their inability to make any effective gains in eastern or other southern states, the loss in Tamil Nadu may well seal the fate of NDA.
The projected win for the DMK led alliance (which includes the Congress) will boost the chances of a non-BJP govt. at the Centre – something that is keenly expected around the country.
[Data projections by Peeyush Sharma and maps by Glenissa Pereira]