The Modi wave had to pause in Tamil Nadu and bow to the Jaya juggernaut. The AIADMK leader swept almost all the seats in the southern state and captured 45% of the vote, leaving a consolation two seats to the NDA alliance.
With 37 seats, its highest Lok Sabha (LS) tally, the AIADMK is now the third largest party in LS.
Jayalalithaa wished the new government and the new prime minister well. When asked if the AIADMK saw a future role in the new government, Jayalalithaa said such a situation had not arisen.
The DMK is now looking at five years without any representation in New Delhi had little to say. “The DMK has seen defeats like this and also mega victories earlier,” Karunanidhi said.
The scope and expanse of AIADMK victory swamped all regions of the state, rendering caste and community equations irrelevant, said political analyst Ramu Manivannan of Madras University.
There was no anti-incumbency sentiment against the state government. If anything, Jayalalithaa was able to ride on the massive anti-Congress mood in the country. The NDA formation won only a few seats, but it was the runner up in eight constituencies. But the NDA coalition was hindered by an inability to transfer votes among its constituents.
Jayalalithaa’s aggressive campaign against corruption, calls for the DMK and Congress to be punished, and her arm’s length from the BJP – which helped with minority voters – proved a winning strategy.
She also articulated Tamil issues – the Cauvery waters, Mullaperiyar, the Sri Lankan Tamil and fishermen issues – and ensured she was not outflanked by Tamil nationalists.
Voters punished corruption-tainted candidates like A Raja, Dayanidhi Maran and TN Baalu.
The AIADMK victory will cast a shadow over the assembly elections due in two years time. The biggest challenge will be for the DMK where a damaging political struggle between Karunanidhi’s two sons – Stalin and Alagiri – is tearing the party apart.
“The BJP, which formed a coalition of six parties, could entrench itself if it responded to issues in a positive manner. If it can redefine state issues – water, power, and infrastructure – people could give is space in Tamil Nadu,” said another political analyst.