Bypolls: What does BJP’s gains mean for Tamil Nadu politics?

According to Election Commission data, AIADMK’s vote share from the three constituencies stood at 54.6% and DMK’s at 37.8%. While BJP got 2.5% vote share, DMDK got 1.3%


In a surprise development, Vijayakanth (left)-led Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam has been pushed to fourth place by the Bharatiya Janata Party .
In a surprise development, Vijayakanth (left)-led Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam has been pushed to fourth place by the Bharatiya Janata Party .

Chennai: Tamil Nadu’s ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) swept all three constituencies— Aravakuruchi, Thanjavur and Thiruparankundram when the results of the recent by-polls were announced on Tuesday.

While analysts had earlier predicted that the opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) had a chance to win Thanjavur, the party had no such luck.

AIADMK retaining the top spot followed by DMK is not a surprise in the state of Tamil Nadu. But in a surprise development, Vijayakanth-led Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) has been pushed to fourth place by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

In a two-party-state like Tamil Nadu, the third and fourth positions are considered an opportunity to grow. But DMDK and BJP have not been able to gain little vote share, said Sumanth Raman, a political analyst based in Chennai.

According to Election Commission data, AIADMK’s vote share from the three constituencies stood at 54.6% and DMK’s at 37.8%. While BJP got 2.5% vote share, DMDK got 1.3%. The combined vote share of the independent candidates was 1.6%.

DMDK was founded in 2005 as an alternative to AIADMK and DMK, which have traditionally dominated the state’s power structure. In the 2006 assembly polls, Vijayakanth became the sole winner from his party, winning over 8% vote share. In 2009 Lok Sabha polls, the party gained nearly 10% vote percentage. DMDK, however allied with AIADMK in 2011. While DMK managed only 23 seats, DMDK won 29 seats of the 41 it contested, and opted to serve as the official opposition party, with Vijayakanth as the opposition leader.

The DMDK, was the principal opposition party in the State legislative assembly between 2011 and 2016.

But things haven’t worked well for the party in the last few years.

“It’s probably time for DMDK to consider a merger with the BJP. This may in turn increase BJP’s vote share,” said Raman.

Before the assembly elections in May, DMDK joined hands with the People’s Welfare Front (PWF)— a coalition of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India, Vaiko-led Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and T. Thirumavalavan’s Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK). Vijayakanth was announced chief ministerial candidate for the alliance.

But the results were disastrous. DMDK candidates including Vijayakanth ended up losing their deposit in 103 of the 104 seats contested. The coalition ended up with a 6.1% vote share, with DMDK contributing 2.4%.

“Obviously, BJP cannot accept Vijayakanth’s leadership. But BJP can try to accommodate him at the Centre with some post. If they (BJP) want to expand inorganically, this would be a good way of doing it,” added Raman.

The DMDK contested the 2014 Lok Sabha elections in the BJP led NDA alliance and won no seats.

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