CHENNAI: AIADMK’s clean sweep of Tamil Nadu in the Lok Sabha elections on the third anniversary of its forming the government in the State is a clear indication of the party supremo and Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s soaring popularity.
Right from the beginning, AIADMK was first to gear up for the elections and also the first to finalise the alliance and candidates, Jayalalithaa had been urging her cadre and functionaries to work for the success of the party in all the 39 constituencies.
Her contention was that only by winning the 39 seats, the party would be able to play a pivotal role in the Central government.
The massive mandate to the BJP-led NDA means it can form a government on its own. However, it cannot ignore the AIADMK, not just because it is the third largest party in Lok Sabha with 37 seats but because it has 10 members in the Rajya Sabha, where the BJP is weak.
With Jayalalithaa herself declaring that she was for a cordial relationship with the Centre, the BJP may find in the AIADMK an ideal ally in nation building outside the NDA fold. Such an arrangement would enable Jayalalithaa to influence policy decisions at the Centre.
But the AIADMK has come a long way in achieving this position as the country’s third biggest party in Lok Sabha. In the 2009 elections, the AIADMK won just nine seats - that too when it was in an alliance with parties like PMK, MDMK and the Left. While the allies won two seats, Tenkasi and Erode, AIADMK triumphed in Tiruvallur, Chennai South, Villupuram, Salem, Tirupur, Pollachi, Karur, Tiruchirappalli and Mayiladuthurai.
This time around, if the party has just lost in Kanyakumari and Dharmapuri and won every other seat, the credit should go to the bouquet of schemes launched by the State government during the last three years to bring succour to the deprived classes.
With Jayalalithaa having her finger on the pulse of the common people, the government took stands in favour of popular sentiments, thus appropriating many causes raised by local groups. So, the clean sweep was on expected lines. Only the pollsters failed to get it right.