DMK makes inroads into AIADMK vote bank and increases strength; Other fronts PWF, DMDK, Communists draw blank
By TN Ashok / Chennai
The mood outside the poise garden residence of incumbent CM J Jayalalitha was joyous. Justifiably for her millions of fans and supporters as her illness had cramped her election campaign considerably as also her almost two year disconnect with the people. People were edgy but not Jaya.
That Jayalalitha is retaining power, this is the first time a incumbent gets a 2nd term in
TN assembly elections, speaks volumes for her charisma and welfare schemes which have retained that competitive edge over the aggressive negative campaign launched by the DMK against her government’s failure to tackle floods fury and organise reliefs on time.
While Jayalalitha can take solace in the fact that she is returning to power as per the trends – AIADMK is ahead in 130 seats including four allies with a single seat each – the DMK has substantially increased its strength from a mere 30 seats of 2011 to over 106 in 2016, that is a gain of 76 seats, which does not augur well for the AIADMK.
The AIADMK has lost its brute majority in the house but has the majority to rule against a larger and much more determined opposition. Pushing legislations is going to be tough for Jayalalitha now.
An initial analysis shows that Jayalalitha seems to have lost those 76 seats from the worst flood affected districts of Chennai where government seemingly failed to act on time. While Jayalalitha could not tour all the districts even if she wanted to because of ill health, Stalin swung the votes for DMK with his aggressive pad yatra type connect with the people in the districts harping on vote for DMK for progress and employment which had come to standstill in the state. DMK used all its TV networks under its control with powerful TVCs against the AIADMK.
The exit polls of most agencies barring Times Now C Voter had all got it wrong in accumulating numbers of 130 and 140 for the DMK. C Voter had rightly predicted
about 130 seats. It has been consistent in its approach. It had predicted the same number in pre election forecast, surprisingly, India Today and others too had predicted the same numbers in the previous election forecast but changed it overnight in their exit polls. Probably the exit polls were based on those districts where the DMK has wrested the seats from the AIADMK, hence the exponential figures went wrong.
One of the highlights of the elections is that DMK Supremo M Karunanidhi has won his 13th assembly election and this time it has been the highest margin with over 68,000 votes from thiruvaroor constituency , from where he gets elected for a 2nd consecutive term.
The communists for the first time will not be able to walk into the state assembly as they have been routed . DMDK leader Captain Vijaykanth has drawn a blank but has got 7% of the vote share.
Its interesting to see that while PMK with 6% vote share has managed three seats Vijayanth has not been able to convert his vote share into seats. The AIADMK reportedly got 42% of the vote share and DMK 37% of the vote share.
Psephologists claim that Jayalalitha had followed the right strategy by not aligning with anyone, particularly the BJP which has lost deposit in 232 assembly seats. Also, the DMK and DMDK had blundered in not forming an alliance. The 7% vote share of DMDK could have swung the seats more for the DMK. Instead by staying independent, not only has he lost for himself seats, but also cut into the vote bank of the DMK.
At the end of the day, it appears that the charisma of Jayalalitha and her welfare schemes were strong enough for her to retain her vote banks and seats to form the government. The governor Rosiah has already congratulated her on the trends and it’s a matter of time that he will ask her to form the government.
If people had watched TV coverage of election day, Jayalalitha had spoken to some TV networks. “ Watch for the results , they will be out in two days time, it will tell you which party will win and form the government”, Jayalalitha had said with a smug expression on her face. She knew she would retain power but was also aware she would lose a large chunk of her seats, reduced from 203 brute majority in a house of 234 to just around 130 plus. But she will rule for a 2nd time she knew well. This time around governance is going to be tougher and she has to be cautious of the opposition flak.