Lok Sabha elections 2019: Dravidian son rises in Tamil Nadu
In the Lok Sabha results declared on Thursday, the DMK-led alliance which included the Congress, won 37 out of 38 seats which went to the polls.Updated: May 24, 2019 04:24 IST
With a stunning electoral performance that stopped the Modi wave in the Dravidian heartland, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) president Muthuvel Karunanidhi Stalin has dispelled questions about his leadership and emerged out of his late father’s shadow.
In the Lok Sabha results declared on Thursday, the DMK-led alliance which included the Congress, won 37 out of 38 seats which went to the polls. The DMK’s surge has also prevented the BJP from retaining its lone seat, Kanniyakumari, represented by Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan.
In neighbouring Puducherry, the Congress trounced its rival, All India NR Congress, a splinter group. While the DMK emerged victorious in all the 19 seats it contested, the Congress’s tally was 8 out of 9. Both the Left parties and the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) of Thol Thirumavalavan secured two seats each and the Marumalarchi DMK (MDMK) of Vaiko, IUML, Indhiya Jananayaka Katchi (IJK) of SRM university founder Paari Vendhar and the Kongunadu Makkal Desiya Katchi (KMDK) of the OBC Gounders in the western region, won one each.
“The results have exceeded expectation and post-poll predictions. But for the lone exception of Theni, where the Congress lost to the AIADMK, it was a repeat of the 2004 mandate, when Karunanidhi was at the helm. And, the credit goes to Stalin since he was the key campaigner. His leadership was never in question within the party. But, the question of whether he could win an election has been proven and convincingly answered now,” says Professor Ramu Manivannan, Department of Politics and Public Administration, Madras University.
This election is the first for the DMK to be fought in the absence of Karunanidhi and the first Lok Sabha election under Stalin’s leadership.
In its victorious march, the DMK decimated the AIADMK-BJP combine, which included the OBC Vanniyar-dominant Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), actor Vijayakanth’s Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK), former Union minister GK Vasan’s Tamil Maanila Congress – Moopanar (TMC-M) and the Dalit party Puthiya Thamizhagam (PT).
Actor Kamal Hassan’s Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) and the Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) of ousted AIADMK leader VK Sasikala’s nephew, TTV Dhinakaran fell by the wayside.
Prominent winners include Kanimozhi Karunanidhi who defeated BJP state president Dr Tamilisai Soundarrajan in Thoothukudi by a margin of3,10,622 votes, HL Vasantha Kumar who trounced Union minister Pon Radhakrishnan by a margin of 2,52,017 votes, Karti P Chidambaram who breezed past BJP national secretary H Raja by a margin of over 2,54,711 votes, former Telecom Minister A Raja who crushed his AIADMK opponent by a margin of 2,05,823 votesin the Nilgiris and Dayanidhi Maran who won comfortably in Central Chennai.
With the ageing Karunanidhi confined to his residence, it was Stalin who spearheaded the DMK’s 2016 assembly poll but, lost narrowly to the AIADMK, led by J Jayalalithaa. Perhaps learning from that, Stalin focused on building a wider alliance for the Lok Sabha elections.
“The common voter has acknowledged Stalin as a leader and the result is a proof of that. True, he has to prove his mettle to reach higher heights. Apart from the committed DMK voters, he has been able get the votes of common voter, and the credit goes to him. Further, there is none at present in Tamil Nadu who could match his prominence and having a sway across the state,” said senior journalist Babu Jayakumar.
Though groomed to take over his father’s political estate, Stalin had to wait for a long time. He also had to deal with multiple claimants to the patriarch’s political legacy.
First Published: May 24, 2019 04:24 IST