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Tamil Nadu Elections: Dravidian Parties Retain the Big Share as DMK Alliance Emerges Victorious

After 10 years, the DMK is returning to power in the state with MK Stalin as the chief minister.
Dravidian Parties Retain the Big Share

Image credit: Prakash R

It is a change of regime in Tamil Nadu this time as the state has elected the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) to form the government, replacing the incumbent All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) after a 10-year run. DMK chief MK Stalin is all set to take oath as the chief minister of Tamil Nadu.

Of the 234 assembly constituencies in the state, the DMK-led alliance won a clear majority with 159 seats. The AIADMK-led front won only 75 seats in this concluding sixteenth legislative assembly election.

However, it was not a sweeping swing towards the DMK-led Secular Progressive Alliance. The alliance got 44.37% of total votes, and the AIADMK-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) was not too far behind with 39.73% votes.


Image credit: Prakash R

All the assembly seats in Tamil Nadu have been shared between the two big Dravidian party-led alliances. The other fronts and small parties in the fray lost miserably.


The DMK’s vote share in the state is 37.67%, and the party won 133 seats out of the 173 in which it contested. There is a substantial increase in DMK’s support compared to the previous Assembly election when it polled 31.64% votes and won 89 seats.

The Congress won 18 out of the 25 seats it contested in the alliance. Given that in the 2016 Assembly elections Congress won only eight out of the 41 seats it contested, this is a big win for the party and not an easy one. Contrary to seats, the Congress’s vote share has reduced from 6.47% to 4.27%.

The Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India (Marxist), and the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) contested in six seats each, and won two, two and four seats respectively. With no sitting MLAs, these three parties have made a comeback after several years through the DMK-led alliance.

The Indian Union Muslim League, however, lost the three seats it contested as part of the alliance.

It is a clean sweep for the DMK front in the Chennai-Thiruvallur belt, where it won all 28 seats. Stalin won from Kolathur in North Chennai. His son and DMK youth wing leader Udhayanidhi Stalin swept the Chepauk-Thiruvallikeni seat in Central Chennai.

D Jayakumar, popular sitting MLA and minister from the AIADMK, lost by a huge margin to DMK’s R Murthy in Royapuram, North Chennai. In total, 11 AIADMK ministers lost in the fight.

Party general secretary Durai Murugan, who contested for the Katpadi seat in Vellore district for the tenth time, almost lost the battle. He got 85,140 votes and AIADMK’s V Ramu got 84,394.


The National Democratic Alliance, led by the AIADMK and comprising Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), put on a decent show. Though the AIADMK bagged only 66 out of the 179 constituencies it contested, it polled 33.3% vote share--only 4.5% less than DMK’s share. The party won a majority of with 135 seats and 40.77% of vote share in 2016.

The AIADMK also retained its fortress in the Kongu belt in west Tamil Nadu, winning 26 out of 38 constituencies.

Incumbent CM Edappadi K Palaniswami won by a huge margin from Edappadi constituency of Salem district with 1,63,154 votes.

But it was not an easy win for the incumbent Deputy CM and AIADMK coordinator O Panneerselvam. He got 1,00,050 votes and Thanga Tamilselvan, a former AIADMK MLA contesting on a DMK ticket this time, closely followed him with 89,029 votes in Bodinayakanur, Theni.

After much fanfare, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won only four out of the 20 seats contested. The party has won seats in Tamil Nadu after 20 years. There is not a considerable change in its vote share; the party contested in 188 constituencies and got 2.86% in 2016. Its vote share this year is 2.62% even though it was in an alliance with the ruling party AIADMK.

After a neck-to-neck fight in Coimbatore (South), BJP’s Vanathi Srinivasan polled 53,209 votes and beat actor cum politician Kamal Haasan who got 51,481 votes.

BJP state President L Murugan lost in Dharapuram, a Scheduled Caste reserved constituency, by a slender margin of 1,393 votes to DMK's Kayalvizhi.

The Vanniyar caste-based party PMK won five out of the 20 seats it contested in the AIADMK alliance and got 3.96% of vote share. The party contested independently in the previous assembly elections, but failed to get any seats.


The fight was mostly two-way--between the DMK and AIADMK fronts, with very few exceptions.

The two Dravidian majors, DMK and AIADMK have swapped places in the Assembly since 1967. No party has made a major impact against this trend even this time. This is besides the fact that it is the first election without the two party’s respective stalwarts M Karunanidhi and J Jayalalitha.The DMK has become the ruling party after 10 years and two tenures, and the AIADMK is pushed to take the position of the opposition.

It is, however, unclear as to who would become the leader of the opposition in the Assembly, whether it would be AIADMK’s CM candidate Palaniswami or party in-charge Panneerselvam.


Seeman’s Naam Tamilar Katchi (NTK), Kamal Haasan’s Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) and AIADMK’s 2018 breakaway faction Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) founded by TTV Dhinakaran hardly created a dent in the overall election results.

Actor-turned politician Vijayakanth’s Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK), which formed a last minute alliance with the AMMK, performed poorly as well. It formed the opposition just 10 years back in 2011, and is out of the picture now. Its vote share has dwindled from 7.9% to 0.43 over the decade.

Asaduddin Owaisi’s All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) got less than 2,000 votes in each of the three seats it contested as part of the AMMK alliance.

MNM got a good share of votes in some urban seats where it fielded young and popular faces, but not significant enough to make a difference.

However, it is notable that the Tamil nationalist party Naam Tamilar Katchi, which independently contested in all 234 constituencies, came third in a majority of the constituencies. The party fielded many young faces with 50% women candidates and is expanding in rural Tamil Nadu.

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