CHENNAI: Spectacular performance by the DMK combine made Tamil Nadu one of the few States to deny BJP even a single Lok Sabha seat in 2019. As of 9 pm Thursday, DMK and its allies managed to sweep 37 of the 38 seats that went to polls, leaving behind just one seat to the ruling AIADMK.
The Modi-magic, which was synonymous with the rest of India, failed to sway Tamil voters or work in favour of the AIADMK. However, deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam’s son Raveendranath Kumar managed to wrest Theni from Congress’ EVKS Elangovan, gaining a lead of over 53,000 votes.
Sources say the results have surpassed even the DMK’s expectations. Observers claim this is a big victory for DMK chief MK Stalin, who has proved his mettle in the first elections to be held after his father and party patriarch M Karunanidhi’s demise. Pundits are also of the opinion that AIADMK could have performed better had it not tied up with the BJP.
Not just the DMK, the Left parties, surprisingly, fared much better in Tamil Nadu than it did in any other State. Of the five seats that CPI and CPM have managed to win across India, four are in Tamil Nadu. For the BJP, on the other hand, almost all of its star campaigners and leaders bit the dust -- former minister Pon Radhakrishnan, State president Tamilisai Soundararajan and national secretary H Raja.
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The Congress managed to win a good eight seats, a significant number compared to its miserable performance in rest of the country. Experts say the key issues that tilted the mandate in Tamil Nadu against the BJP combine were the NEET exams for medical admission, approval given to laying of GAIL pipelines in the Delta region by the Centre and the perceived indifference of Central government when the State was dealing with Ockhi and Gaja cyclones’ aftermath.
PMK in freefall, may lose mango
The Pattali Makkal Katchi, which tried to rework its strategy this time to stay in the race, was wiped out in the State, with even its youth icon Anbumani Ramadoss tasting a humbling defeat. In 2014, despite contesting eight seats, Anbumani was the sole MP the party could manage to send to Delhi.
Things did not improve in the 2016 Assembly elections, as the party drew a blank after projecting Anbumani as the Chief Minister candidate. This defeat will prove costly for the party. Having lost the recognised party status in 2011, the PMK is now likely to lose its symbol as its has failed to win even a single seat.