AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa wrested power from the DMK in Tamil Nadu on Friday with a landslide win, crushing chief minister M Karunanidhi's hopes of heading the state for the sixth time.
Suffering the effect of the Jayalalithaa sweep, Karunanidhi’s son MK Stalin, the deputy chief minister, was locked in a bitter battle with the AIADMK candidate in Kolattur in north Chennai.The force of Jayalalithaa's comeback also removed the aura around Karunanidhi’s elder son and union chemicals and fertilisers minister MK Alagiri in Madurai, considered his bastion. She delivered a blow to Alagiri's influence in south Tamil Nadu, wiping out his candidates in Madurai.
The factor’s behind the DMK’s humiliating defeat were the involvement of its leaders in the 2G scam and the Karunanidhi family controlling all party affairs.
The comprehensive AIADMK win was set to deny the DMK the status of a recognised opposition party as the DMDK, headed by actor Vijayakanth, and the Left parties have said that they will offer "constructive opposition" to the AIADMK government. What this means is that in the new assembly, Karunanidhi will not even be the leader of the Opposition because the honour is likely to go to Vijayakanth, whose party bagged more seats than the DMK.
Jayalalithaa’s victory not only reinforced the cyclical voting pattern of Tamil Nadu but also blew away the perception of a rural-urban divide that the DMK was banking on to see it through on the strength of the freebies and welfare schemes t felt had touched almost every household in the state.
The Congress, a DMK ally, won only seven seats, a big fall from the 34 it had bagged in 2006. The poor showing means that the Congress will not be able to get its way in the Rajya Sabha elections. Significantly, the term of union shipping minister GK Vasan, a Rajya Sabha member, ends in August and the Congress will not be in a position to get him elected to the Upper House, given its depleted strength as also that of its ally of seven years.
Addressing a press conference after her resounding victory, Jayalalithaa said her priority was to restore the rule of law in the state and rebuild Tamil Nadu’s economy, which the “outgoing government has left in ruins”. She said it would be a “formidable challenge”, which she was used to, referring to her earlier returns as chief minister.