Public fury and better alliance made the difference
Dismissal of lakh of govt employees, severe drought for two consecutive years and acute drinking water shortage are some of reasons why the voters spurned the AIADMK in Tamil Nadu.
Public anger against AIADMK government, coupled with numerical supremacy of DMK-led Democratic Progressive alliance, ensured a washout for the AIADMK-BJP combination in the Lok Sabha polls.
Tamil Nadu government's clampdown on the government employees strike, leading to dismissal of 1.9 lakh employees, withdrawal of several financial benefits to state transport employees, numbering over three lakh, severe drought for two consecutive years, resulting in acute drinking water shortage, and the state's handling of the Kaveri water dispute, were some factors that played havoc against AIADMK-BJP combination.
With no major national issues discussed in the campaigning, the DPA had cleverly exploited the anger among most sections of the society to its advantage, leading to a landslide victory in its favour, capturing all the 40 Lok Sabha seats located in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry.
The local factors resulted in a massive swing of 22.56 per cent in favour of the DPA.
The constituents of the DPA - DMK, Congress, PMK, MDMK, CPI, CPI(M) and IUML, had over 55 per cent vote share in the state politics in the previous polls and this had reflected in the current elections also.
In the current polls, these parties polled 57.4 per cent.
In fact, DMK adopted the same tactics as the AIADMK did during the 2001 assembly polls by roping in political parties with considerable strength, which paid rich dividends.
In 2001, the AIADMK, in the company of the TMC, Congress, PMK, left parties and IUML had 49.4 per cent of the vote share and secured a massive win. This time it was just the reverse.
Though it got a drubbing in the polls, the AIADMK's vote share went down by just 1.63 per cent as compared to 2001 assembly polls from 31.4 per cent to 29.77.
The DMK, which had 30.9 per cent vote share then, had now 23.08 per cent, but this decline could be attributed the fact that it had contested only 15 seats against AIADMK's 33.
Congress improved its vote share in the current polls. Compared to the Congress-TMC combined vote percentage of 9.2 during the 2001 Lok Sabha polls, the unified Congress had gained over five per cent this time. It has 14.4 per cent now.
PMK, which won five seats out of seven it contested in the 1999 polls, bagged all the five seats it had contested this time and polled 6.71 per cent as compared to 8.21 per cent in 1999.
This could be attributed not only to lesser number of seats that it had contested this time, but also to the "marginal impact" to the appeal made by Tamil actor Rajnikant to his fans to work for the defeat of PMK nominees.
In fact, as compared to winning margins of DPA constituents, PMK's winning margins were less.
The vote bank of Left parties and MDMK remained static, without any major shift.
BJP had a drop of two per cent in its vote share as compared to previous polls. The party, which had 7.14 per cent in 1999, 6.7 per cent in 2001, now had only 5.07 per cent.
Even the pollsters did not expect a total sweep for the DPA in the state. But public anger belied all predictions.
For the second time, AIADMK, floated by late MG Ramachandran, will go unrepresented in the Lok Sabha, the first being in 1996 when it was not able to win a single Lok Sabha seat in the elections that year.
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