CHENNAI: Poor show by allies let the AIADMK down as the party heads to the Opposition benches in the Legislative Assembly. The AIADMK can take solace in the fact that it has countered anti-incumbency sentiment reasonably well in the absence of supremo J Jayalalithaa. Under her stewardship, the party managed four seats in 1996.
The time This time, AIADMK won 70 seats, thanks largely to its strong performance in western Tamil Nadu which is considered its stronghold. Ministers in the outgoing Cabinet K P Anbalagan, K C Karuppannan, K A Sengottaiyan and S P Velumani enjoyed good lead right from the beginning in Palacode, Bhavani, Gobichettipalayam and Thondamuthur constituencies respectively.
However, MC Sampath, K Pandiarajan, KC Veeramani, and OS Manian were in neck-to-neck race with rivals. The tide did not favour Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar who won from Royapuram for the last 20 years. He came second best to Idream Murthy R of DMK, with a margin of around 17,000 votes.
The victory of K P Munusamy and R Vaithilingam, both Rajya Sabha members, from Veppanapalli and Orathanadu will necessitate elections to the Upper House soon. Allies BJP and PMK together were leading in just eight out of 43 seats they contested.
The BJP was leading in four out of 20 seats at the time of going to the press, while the PMK was leading in four out of 23, which is the highest number of seats a party got allotted in the alliance. Prominent candidates from the saffron party who were trailing included H Raja in Karaikudi, Khushbu Sundar in Thousand Lights, and K Annamalai in Aravakurichi. However, PMK’s president GK Mani was leading in Pennagaram with 44,000 votes.