CHENNAI: With the votes of the BJP-led alliance dipping to 2.2 per cent in the Srirangam bypoll from 9.87 per cent the alliance recorded in the same segment in the 2014 Parliament elections, the front is no longer considered a threat for the DMK’s position as the lone rival to the ruling AIADMK.
However, having polled 24.88 per cent votes, the DMK has retained its core vote bank in a citadel of the AIADMK and hopes to build its strength further. The DMK is also optimistic of drawing new allies since it would be the lone option for parties like the DMDK, which are strongly opposed to the AIADMK.
In the 2011 Assembly elections, the DMK had secured over 35 per cent votes with the support of the Congress. But, after the party severed ties with the Congress and faced the Parliament elections in 2014, its vote share fell to about 27 per cent in the Srirangam segment.
The DMK was not able to win a single seat in the Lok Sabha elections, while the BJP front comprising the DMDK, PMK and MDMK emerged victorious in two seats. Besides, the DMK was pushed to the third place in seven constituencies, raising fears that the party was ceding its spot as the major rival to the AIADMK.
After sorting out the organisational issues, the party entered the fray in Srirangam as soon as the poll schedule was announced. The BJP put up a candidate after much dilly-dallying and negotiations with DMDK leader Vijayakant.
Since a landslide victory of the AIADMK was a foregone conclusion, the spotlight was on the fight between the DMK and BJP for the second place. The BJP leaders also claimed that it was the fastest growing party in Tamil Nadu recruiting 70 lakh members within three months.
The DMDK, a constituent of the BJP alliance, put up its candidate in the Tiruchy Lok Sabha seat in 2014 Parliament elections and garnered 9.87 per cent votes with the support of the MDMK, which had quit the front later. The ‘fastest growing’ BJP was expected to do much better and give a tough fight to the DMK in the bypoll.
But, the dismal 2.2 per cent votes the party obtained despite an alliance with the DMDK has erased the apprehensions in the DMK camp. One of the DMK functionaries said the BJP was not its main rival, though he did not want to rub salt on its wounds by making comments about their failure. The DMK would identify issues to mobilise people’s support and build on its core vote bank, he said and added that his party would attract alliance parties at the appropriate time.