Breaking down Tamil Nadu’s vote-share: Who gained, who lost and what it means

Every vote counted.
Breaking down Tamil Nadu’s vote-share: Who gained, who lost and what it means
Breaking down Tamil Nadu’s vote-share: Who gained, who lost and what it means

While the big story out of the TN polls was a comfortable victory for Jayalalithaa with 134 seats, 36 more than the DMK alliance, the vote-shares of the different parties narrate several small and yet interesting stories.

A direct comparison of vote-shares of the parties in 2011 and in 2016 shows that both the AIADMK and DMK have gained, while all other parties except the PMK have taken a significant hit.

AIADMK has increased its individual vote-share by 2.4% since 2011, from 38.4% to 40.8%.

DMK has increased its individual vote-share by 9.2% since 2011, from 22.39% to 31.6%.

PMK has managed to retain its vote share a bit more than 5%.

DMDK’s vote share has fallen from an impressive 7.8% in 2011 to an embarrassing 2.4%.

Other parties like the Left and VCK have also seen a dip in their already paltry vote share.

The BJP has seen its share increase from 2.2% to 2.8%, which is now being claimed to be a victory by the party.

But this is just a simple reading of the vote-shares. The alliance arithmetic was very different in 2016 compared to 2011.

AIADMK likely to have lost vote-share

In 2011, AIADMK, Left and DMDK were in an alliance, and the anti-DMK, pro-Jayalalithaa wave helped AIADMK’s allies significantly. The dip in vote-share for DMDK and the Left from 2011 to 2016 is proof of the largely accepted fact that the DMDK and Left benefitted from the AIADMK in 2011 – and much of their vote-share in 2011 actually belonged to the AIADMK.

One point emerging from this is that the real vote-share of AIADMK in 2011 was not just 38.4% - much of the DMDK’s 7.8%, the Left’s 4.4% in 2011 actually belonged to Jayalalithaa. Apart from the table above, AIADMK alliance's vote share in 2011 including MMK, PT and AIFB is 51.8%. Going by the fact that there was a bit of perceived anti-incumbency against Jayalalithaa, and that she notched up 44% votes in 2014 General polls, it would not be too wrong to say that the AIADMK has in fact lost some vote-share in 2016 compared to 2011.

DMK has made significant gains

The DMK and MK Stalin have come to receive much criticism for not being able to defeat the AIADMK in spite of some anti-incumbency. The truth though is that going by vote-share, they have put up a good performance.

In 2011, the vote-share of the DMK and Congress put together was 31.6%, and in 2016 their combined vote-share is 38%. With other allies like IUML, MMK and PT in tow, the DMK alliance notched up 39.7% of the votes in 2016, which is by no means a failure. Take a bow, MK Stalin.

Analysts have further pointed out that the poor performance of allies have pulled down the overall performance of the DMK alliance, and that is evident from the ‘contested vote-shares’ of the individual parties, as pointed out here.

Anti-incumbency against Jayalalithaa

Interestingly, the analysis in The Hindu also shows that the ‘contested vote-shares’ of the DMK and AIADMK – which is the votes they polled in the seats they contested in alone – stood at 41.05% in 176 seats and 40.78% in 232 seats respectively. While this does point to a dwindling vote-share of the AIADMK as already pointed out, it also does point to an anti-incumbency, but clearly not enough to tip the scales in favour of DMK. AIADMK notching up more than 40% votes in 232 seats does not point to a significant anger against the party as journalists were presenting based on anecdotal evidence before the polls.

Vijayakant and allies: Neither kings nor kingmakers, but paupers

What the 2016 polls have done is help take off DMDK Vijaykant’s mask of grandeur. Far from his 7.8% vote-share in 2011, when he benefitted from an alliance with the AIADMK, he polled just about 2.4%, even with the combined campaigning might of Vaiko, Left parties and VCK. The DMDK now stands to lose its status as a state party since it has neither won 3 seats nor 3% of the votes.

CPI and CPI(M) have been reduced to 0.8% and 0.7% respectively, and VCK is down to 0.8% too.  Tamil Manila Congress led by GK Vasan polled a negligible 0.5%.

The MDMK, which boycotted the 2011 polls, also saw the number of votes polled plummet to 0.9% as compared to 6 per cent in the 2006 assembly elections.      

But when every rupee counts, paupers can help

But that the PWF-DMDK-TMC won no seats and were individually reduced to paltry vote-shares does not mean they were not important to these elections.

The margin of vote-shares between AIADMK and DMK+ is just 1.1%, and the third front with all its parties combined notched up 5.1%. This has no doubt harmed the DMK by helping divide the votes in favour of AIADMK.

BJP’s marginal gains

Even though the BJP won no seats, TN BJP chief Tamilisai Soundararajan has patted the state unit on the back for increasing their vote share. The BJP’s share went up by 0.6%, they got 2.2% having contested in 204 seats in 2011, and 2.8% after contesting in 134 seats in 2016. The BJP has also made gains in some urban seats.

PMK holds on to its vote-share by increasing contested seats

The PMK which contested in all seats, after piggybacking on the Dravidian parties, drew a blank with CM candidate Anbumani Ramadoss also defeated at Pennagaram. Its vote-share remains stagnant at around 5.3%, but it is to be noted that they contested in only 30 seats in 2011, but all 234 seats in 2016.

Now, watch a fun video on how the next 5 years is going to be.

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