Lok Sabha election results 2019: With 9 bypoll wins, AIADMK manages to hang on to power
Stumping exit poll predictions, chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami managed to shore up the required majority for his government. Now, the AIADMK has 119 MLAs — minus the assembly speaker and three dissident MLAs.Updated: May 24, 2019 00:52 IST
Despite a drubbing in the Lok Sabha polls in Tamil Nadu, the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIDMK), which was hanging on to power precariously without a majority in the state assembly, swam to safety by bagging nine of the 22 assembly seats in which bypolls were held.
Stumping exit poll predictions, chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami managed to shore up the required majority for his government. Now, the AIADMK has 119 MLAs — minus the assembly speaker and three dissident MLAs.
The relief for AIADMK has come from Sulur, Sholingur, Vilathikulam, Nilakkottai, Sattur, Harur, Pappireddippatti, Manamadurai, and Paramakkudi assembly seats where its candidates trounced opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) rivals.
Though AIADMK had 114 MLAs in the 234-member legislature, three of them were loyal to rebel AIADMK leader and late chief minister J Jayalalithaa’s close aide VK Sasikala’s nephew TTV Dhinakaran. The trio are A Prabhu (Kallakurichi), Kalaichelvan (Virudhachalam) and Rathina Sabapathy (Aranthangi). This had brought the party’s effective strength to 110 MLAs, excluding the speaker, and for a majority the requirement was 118.
The Opposition, led by the DMK which has successfully won 37 of 38 Lok Sabha seats in the state, was also ahead in the bypolls with 13 of its candidates in the lead in Perambur, Poonamallee, Thiruporur, Gudiyattam, Ambur, Thanjavur, Thiruvarur, Ottapidaram, Periyakulam, Aravakurichi, Thiruparankundram, Hosur and the Andipatti assembly constituency. Interestingly, nine of these seats were earlier held by the AIADMK.
Andipatti, a pocket borough of the AIADMK, has been taken over by the DMK after two decades. It was from here that AIADMK founder MG Ramachandran won the 1984 assembly election and became the chief minister. MGR’s successor J Jayalalithaa, too, had held the seat in 2002 and 2006. A Maharajan is the second DMK candidate to taste victory from Andipatti after P Aasiyan in 1967.
Interestingly, Maharajan has trounced his younger brother A Logirajan of the AIADMK.
In the assembly, the DMK has the support of 97 MLAs (its own 88, Congress’s eight and Indian Union Muslim League’s one) and to dislodge the Edappadi K Palaniswami-led AIADMK government, it should have secured 21 of the 22 assembly seats. But, it could only get 13 and take its tally, with that of the allies, to 110 MLAs, eight short of a majority.
Dhinakaran’s Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (a splinter group of AIADMK) which was expected to split the AIADMK votes has come a cropper as the AIADMK votebank has remained intact. None of the AMMK candidates could secure their deposit in the 38 Lok Sabha seats or the 22 assembly by-poll seats.
Reacting to the verdict, AIADMK spokesperson RM Babu Murugavel said they are happy that the government is safe. “Our leaders Edappadi K Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam have often said their prime aim was to make PM Narendra Modi get a second term and safeguard the AIADMK government as well. The results are as expected. The BJP is forming the government at the Centre and our government is safe,” he said.