The state of Tamil Nadu witnessed a turn of tide in the 17th Lok Sabha elections as Stalin-led DMK is set to nearly wipe out its rival AIADMK from the state. The DMK, which is in an alliance with the Congress, is leading on 36 out of 39 Lok Sabha seats in the state, a drastic change from its 2014 tally when it failed to even open its account.
However, in a relief for the AIADMK, it has put up a good show in the Assembly bypoll elections to ensure it remains in power in the state. The stakes were high in Tamil Nadu, where the AIADMK and DMK parties were facing their first election without veteran leaders J Jayalalithaa and M Karunanidhi. For the AIADMK, the bypoll results were key to send a message of stability. For the DMK, this is the first election under the leadership of M K Stalin. The results today help set a new course for the party after Karunanidhi’s death.
For the ruling AIADMK, which won 37 of the 39 seats in 2014, this general election is key to send a message of unity, strength and stability. After the death of its matriarch, fondly known as Amma, a tussle for power left the party in factions before Edapaddi K Palaniswamy and O Panneerselvam stitched up an alliance to stay afloat. This is not only the first test for the alliance but also for a government battling incumbency.
With 39 seats, Tamil Nadu has the fourth highest number of Lok Sabha constituencies. While for decades local issues were central to its politics, the recent alliances between AIADMK and BJP, and DMK and Congress has pulled it into national politics.
For the BJP and Congress, which have so far failed to make inroads in the state, this comes as a significant opportunity. The changing situation in Tamil Nadu might give the national parties a bigger say in their respective alliances.
Unlike the past, this year’s election has seen many new entrants. The Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK), led by TTV Dhinakaran, an AIADMK rebel and Sasikala’s nephew, contested 38 of the 39 seats. Dhinakaran was elected to the state legislative Assembly in 2017 after winning a bypoll to Jaya’s R K Puram seat. One can’t put it past Dhinakaran to play spoiler for AIADMK and DMK.
Actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan’s outfit Makkal Needhi Maiyam (MNM), meanwhile, contested all the seats.
The voter turnout in the state was 71.87% in the Lok Sabha elections.
Tamil Nadu bypoll results
Along with the Lok Sabha elections, bypolls to 22 seats have been held over the last month — 18 on April 18 and four on May 19. Both the AIADMK and DMK contested all seats, leaving none for allies. In Tamil Nadu’s 234-member Assembly, a simple majority of 118 is required to remain in power. The AIADMK currently has 113 seats and needs to win at least five bypolls.
If the DMK-Congress-IUML alliance with 97 members in the House wins 21 seats, it can stake claim to form the state government. This puts it within earshot of forming the government should it win enough in the bypolls.
TTV Dhinakaran’s party gains significance here as 18 bypolls were necessitated after MLAs left the AIADMK to join the rebel leader. At least 15 of these leaders are re-contesting the bypolls on AMMK tickets.
The 18 bypolls are spread across 15 constituencies, and this leads to the fear that the Lok Sabha elections may have an effect on these local elections. Most exit polls have predicted that the DMK-led alliance will sweep not only the Lok Sabha polls in the state but also the bypolls.
The 22 seats which witnessed bypolls were Poonamallee (SC), Perambur, Thiruporur, Sholingur, Gudiyattham (SC), Ambur, Hosur, Pappireddippatti, Harur (SC), Nilakkottai (SC), Thiruvarur, Thanjavur, Manamadurai (SC), Andipatti, Periyakulam (SC), Sattur Paramakudi (SC), Vilathikulam, Aravakurichi, Sulur, Thiruparankundram and Ottapidaram.
TN Lok Sabha elections results: Key constituencies to watch out for
Thoothukudi set to witness a big fight between Rajya Sabha MP from DMK Kanimozhi and BJP state president Tamilisai Soundararajan. Kanimozhi, who is contesting her debut Lok Sabha election, is the daughter of Karunanidhi. Thoothukudi came into national limelight a year ago when police during protests over the Sterlite copper plant killed 13 people.
Another contest to look out for is in Kanyakumari, the only seat BJP won in the 2014 elections. Sitting MP and Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan is contesting against Congress’ Vasanthakumar H, a businessman-politician from the region.
In Sivaganga, Congress leader P Chidambaram’s son Karti is contesting against BJP’s national secretary H Raja. A traditional Congress seat, Karti had told The Indian Express, “In this election, there is no other question or agenda except the ouster of Modi.”
Chennai Central will see a face-off between Congress’ Dayanidhi Maran and Sam Paul, a rookie standing for AIADMK’s ally PMK.