AIADMK performance repeat of 1991 sweep

In all, 150 candidates led by J Jayalalitha have won this time on the AIADMK’s ‘two leaves’ symbol. This is the second best performance the party has achieved in its 39-year history so far after 163 seats the party had bagged in the 1991 Assembly polls.

The front now has captured a record 203 seats, next only to the 224 seats the AIADMK-Congress alliance won in 1991.

Technically, the AIADMK on its own has won in 146 constituencies, as four MLAs from three other parties including actor Sarath Kumar who leads the All India Samathuva Makkal Katchi, had contested on the ‘two leaves’ symbol.  Under late MGR’s leadership tenure, the AIADMK had won a maximum of 132 seats in the 1984 elections.

The party has touched the 150-mark for the second time in 2011 under Jayalalitha’s leadership. In the previous 2006 polls, AIADMK had won 61 seats. Significantly, a quick analysis of the AIADMK’s district-wise performance shows that it has eaten into several DMK strongholds, particularly in North Tamil Nadu, while regaining its traditional support base in the Southern and Western districts.

The AIADMK has also virtually swept the state’s middle region – the Cauvery delta belt as the alliance it led with Vijayakant’s DMDK and the Left parties mopped up widespread popular sentiment.  

Just sample this: Of the 58 seats in the southern districts of Madurai, Dindigul, Theni, Sivaganga, Virdhunagar, Ramanathapuram, Tuticorin, Tirunvelveli and Kanniyakumari districts, the AIADMK alone won 31 seats. Its allies including DMDK won 14 seats, taking their tally to 45 in the South, said to be DMK strongman M K Alagiri’s domain in recent years.

Alagari’s expectations

The DMK by itself managed to win only 9 seats in the Southern districts, miserably belying Alagari’s expectations. In Madurai city and neighbourhood, DMK’s strike rate was a shocking ‘zero’’.

While Congress picked up 3 seats in the Southernmost Kanniyakumari district, it was helped by the BJP where the saffron party candidates polling sizeable votes cut into the AIADMK’’s share. But the BJP by itself failed to open its account in this election. 

In the northern districts up to Dharmapuri in the north-west – considered a concentrated cluster for the DMK-PMK-VCK combine since the politics of alliances changed in Tamil Nadu since 1996 – the AIADMK-led alliance made considerable gains this time. In metropolitan Chennai alone, a long-held DMK bastion, Amma’s front bagged 14 of the 16 seats, a new record.

In the middle Cauvery delta districts of Tiruchirappalli, Thanjavur, Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur, Ariyalur, Perambalur, Karur and Pudukottai, out of a total of 41 seats at stake, the AIADMK convincingly won in 26 constituencies.

This is politically very significant as this has been one of the traditional strong belts for the DMK as well. Again in the western districts including Salem, Coimbatore and Tirupur, of a total of 57 constituencies at stake, the AIADMK won as many as 38 seats. The fledgling OBC Goundars-based political outfit in the western belt, Kongu Nadu Munnetra Kazhagam which tied up with the DMK came a cropper in this election, while DMK itself drew a blank in Coimbatore .

No wonder, Jayalalitha made it clear on Saturday that this overwhelmingly massive mandate for her party “is not just a negative vote against the DMK, but 100 per cent positive vote for the AIADMK, considering our performance during 2001-06.”  The people wanted the state to return to good governance and the massive verdict also reflected that, she contended.

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