Contrary to what many exit polls predicted for the Tamil Nadu elections, Jayalalithaa and the AIADMK have achieved a comfortable victory in the state. The AIADMK has crossed the halfway mark and is set to achieve a comfortable majority of around 134 seats.
The DMK alliance has won 86 seats, and is set to bag another 12 seats, with the PMK, the Third Front of the PWF and the DMDK, and the BJP all failing to secure a single seat.
If these results hold, AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa will become Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for a sixth term. This would also be her second consecutive time as CM, since the AIADMK swept the 2011 assembly elections. This is the first time since 1984 that a party in Tamil Nadu could win two consecutive elections.
2011 seat and vote share
In the 2011 assembly elections, AIADMK had won 150 seats, while its alliance partner DMDK bagged 29. The DMK received 23 seats, its allies Congress got 5 and PMK 3. BJP did not win any seats. AIADMK had received 38.4 per cent of the vote share, DMK had 22.4 per cent, DMDK got 7.9 per cent, PMK had 5.23 per cent and the BJP got 2.2 per cent of the vote share.
The 2016 campaign:
One factor at work during the run-up to the polls was the absence of a clear poll plank behind which to rally the anti-incumbent vote. None of the parties in the elections were able to distinguish itself strongly from the others, a fact visible in the similarity of the various campaign manifestos. Indeed, the only resort left to the DMK was to claim that the AIADMK “copied” its manifesto.
While the absence of a strong election issue should have worked in the AIADMK’s favour, the party supremo, Jayalalithaa’s, restricted campaigning seemed to have evened out the scales for the DMK and the other parties. The incumbent Chief Minister kept a low public profile, capped off by her non-committal stance at the polling booths on Monday, when all she would say was, “After two days, we will know what the people’s verdict is.”
This election was also remarked for being the first multi-cornered elections in at least two decades. The Third Front, an alliance of Vijayakant’s DMDK with the People’s Welfare Front (a coalition of five parties), attracted impressive enough crowds during the campaign to be marked out as a competitor. However, most exit polls saw the Third Front more as a game spoiler than a kingmaker, predicting a meagre score of only five to nine seats for the coalition.
The PMK, with its considerable presence in the Vanniyar heartland of North Tamil Nadu was also seen as an influencing factor.
*Elections in two constituencies — Aravakurichi and Thanjavur – were postponed to May 23, 2016 due to complaints of cash distribution in these constituencies. The results for these two constituencies will be announces onMay 25, 2016.
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