Tamil Nadu Assembly Elections 2021: Exit Polls
Tamil Nadu 2021 Assembly elections: Voter statistics
There were 62.6 million people eligible to vote this year, including 3.09 million male voters, 3.19 million female voters and 7,192 from the Third Gender.
The state witnessed a 72.81 per cent voter turnout on April 6. Karur district recorded the highest turnout at 83,92 per cent, while Chennai district saw the lowest at 59.06 per cent. The voter turnout was 2 per cent lower than in 2016, when the state recorded a 74.81 per cent.
The Election Commission (EC) ordered repolling in one polling station in the Velachery Assembly constituency after two men were found carrying EVM machines. The poll body declared the vote on April 6 as “void” and repolling took place on April 17.
Tamil Nadu Assembly elections amid Covid-19 pandemic
The Tamil Nadu polls were held amid the coronavirus pandemic, just before the nation began witnessing a second wave of infections. Due to the situation, the EC issued strict guidelines to ensure safety of poll workers and voters, including maintaining social distancing, wearing masks, thermal screening, using disposable gloves, decreasing the number of electors per booth and extending voting hours.
On counting day, the EC has mandating from its officers either a negative test or completion of two doses of Covid-19 vaccine to enter the counting centres. It has banned public gatherings outside the centres and also said no victory processions would be allowed.
Tamil Nadu elections: Key players and contests
* Edapaddi K Palaniswami, a four-term MLA, contested the polls from Edapaddi constituency, an AIADMK bastion. He is up against T Sampath Kumar of the DMK.
* O Paneerselvam stood from Bodinayakannur in Theni district, which he has represented since 2001. The 70-year-old is contesting against DMK’s Thanga Tamilselvan, who moved to the party after having sided with the Sasikala-Dhinakaran camp in the AIADMK tussle following Jayalalithaa’s death.
* M K Stalin fought from Kolathur, a seat he has represented since 2011. The constituency in North Chennai has a population comprising Muslims and the lower and lower-middle class. He is up against AIADMK’s Aadi Rajaram.
* TTV Dhinakaran contested from Kovilpatti instead of the R K Nagar seat, which he won in the 2017 bypolls. It is believed he chose this seat due to his party’s success in the local body polls in the region in 2019. He stood against AIADMK’s sitting MLA and minister Kadambur C Raju, who won from the seat both in 2016 and 2011, and K Srinivasan from DMK.
* Kamal Haasan stood from Coimbatore South against BJP’s Vanathi Srinivasan and Congress’ Mayura S Jayakumar. A constituency with largely middle-class and upper-middle-class voters, it was in this Assembly segment that MNM got more than 1 lakh votes in the 2019 general elections. Coimbatore South has about 12 per cent upper caste Hindu voters of north Indian descent who are seen as BJP supporters.
* Udhayanidhi Stalin, Stalin’s son, also made his political debut this election, standing from the Chepauk-Triplicane Assembly seat. He was up against AVA Kassali of PMK, an ally of AIADMK and L Rajendran of AMMK.
* In Karur, which registered the highest voter turnout, M R Vijayabhaskar of the AIADMK was up against Senthil Balaji of DMK. Balaji, who was once considered close to Jayalalithaa, went with the Sasikala-TTV Dhinakaran camp after Palaniswami ousted them from the party. In 2018, he switched to the DMK.
* L Murugan, president of the BJP Tamil Nadu unit, is contesting from Dharapuram (reserved) Assembly constituency
* Premalatha, the wife of Captain Vijayakant, stood from Virudhachalam. Vijayakanth had won from the seat in 2006, when he first contested an election. Premalatha is familiar with the constituency as she often campaigned here her husband. While the region is a traditional OBC-Vanniyar bastion which largely supports the Vanniyar-based Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) party, Premalath, from the Telugu Naidu community, is targeting the non-Vanniyar and minority votes in the region.
* R B Udhayakumar, a Jayalalithaa loyalist, contested from Thirumangalam in Madurai district. He is expected to retain the seat.
Tamil Nadu Assembly elections 2021: Exit polls
All the exit polls have predicted a clean sweep for the DMK alliance. The AMMK and MNM are unlikely to make much of a difference, according to the exit polls.
The incoming government, which will be sworn in by May 24, will face the challenge of tackling the second wave of Covid, which has brought with it a health crisis and economic hardship.