Jayalalitha has broken the trend in Tamil Nadu and returned as CM for the second time in a row. Tamil Nadu has witnessed the most fascinating of elections of the 5 states which went to polls. While her return is significant and similar to Akalis return in 2012 in Punjab, the margin of victory (36 seats) and the vote share gap of only 1.1% has never been witnessed earlier as shown below. The state has given mammoth victories to DMK and AIADMK alternatively for the past three decades. So this was surprising.
Seat share & Vote share gap between no. 1 and no. 2 alliance in TN
In these elections AIADMK contested on a standalone basis without any allies (except few small parties who contested on its symbol). DMK as well was not able to stitch a formidable alliance. It had Congress on its side and few smaller parties. Congress influence in the state has been declining since 2009 LS polls. BJP failed to keep intact the grand alliance consisting of PMK and DMDK it had formed in LS polls.
What happened in Tamil Nadu?
In 2011 AIADMK+ had recorded 51.8% vote share (AIADMK 38.4%, DMDK 7.9%, Left Parties 4.6%, MMK 0.5% and PT 0.4%). All of these alliance partners left and JJ couldn’t keep most of their votes with her, she could dent only 15% of their vote bank. AIADMK won 40.8% vote share in 2016 (+2.4% vs 2011).
DMK+ had recorded 39.4% vote share in 2011 (DMK 22.4%, Congress 9.3%, PMK 5.2%, KNMK 1.5%, VCK 1%). All the allies left DMK alliance this time except Congress. It managed to poach MMK and PT from AIADMK alliance. The alliance despite PMK and others moving away marginally improved its vote share to 39.7% (+0.3%). DMK registered an impressive gain of 9.3% cutting some of the exit losses, with Congress losing c.3% vote share.
PMK contesting alone held onto its 2011 vote share. BJP gained 0.6% vote share. The biggest loser was Captain’s party which I had predicted. The balloon burst and his party lost 5.5% vote share. Left parties lost 3% vote share. Majority of these losses of 8.5% were captured by DMK.
The million dollar question before polls was who PWF-DMDK alliance will impact more. Well looks this themselves. They lost massive vote share of 8.5% which was primarily taken over by DMK (70%) and to some extent by AIADMK (30%). PWF was not able to dent into vote bank of either DMK or AIADMK.
Game of Alliances
In the end, AIADMK went to polls without any allies and just managed to sneak in (almost lost). DMK couldn’t form a formidable alliance. If it managed to keep PMK or induct DMDK into its alliance they would have got the necessary fillip to break the half way mark. They had the momentum but needed an additional 2%-3% vote share from one of the smaller parties and hence lost.
There was a swing against the incumbent alliance as it has happened in the past. AIADMK+ witnessed a negative swing of 11% primarily as allies left, but this was captured primarily by others (PMK, DMDK, Left, BJP) in the end.
AIADMK continues its lead over DMK in terms of vote share but something to cheer for Stalin as well
AIADMK continued its uptick in vote share since 2001. DMK which has been losing vote share continuously from 42.1% in 1996 to 22.4% in 2011, recorded an increase of 9.3%. Stalin would be happy at this performance. After all everybody had written off DMK.
In the end a cracker of an elections, which DMK lost due to its failure to make a grand alliance and Amma almost lost by abandoning alliances. The popularity ratings of DMK got split between Stalin and Karunanidhi which also attributed to DMK’s loss.