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Historic win for DMK-led front in TN
May 13, 2004 18:25 IST
Last Updated: May 14, 2004 14:11 IST
It was an interesting battle in Tamil Nadu. On the one side, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham's 'rainbow alliance' -- essentially a coming together of all regional political parties with a vote base. And on the other side, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam-Bharatiya Janata Party combine, fronted by the seemingly invincible Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.
To the surprise of pollsters and pundits, an anti-incumbency wave swept aside the AIADMK-BJP combine.
The wave was uniform across the state, including in the AIADMK bastion of southern Tamil Nadu. All Democratic Progressive Alliance candidates romped home with huge leads -- the only 'exception' being Periyakulam, where AIADMK nominee T T V Dinakaran, nephew of Jayalalithaa's close friend Shashikala, lost by a 'mere' 24,000 votes.
This is the second time a DMK-led alliance has swept the Lok Sabha polls in the state at the expense of the AIADMK. In 1996, the DMK combined with the Tamil Maanila Congress headed by G K Moopanar and won all 39 seats. On that occasion the Congress, then allied to the AIADMK, had the consolation of winning the sole seat in neighboring Pondicherry.
This time, the DMK-led front -- comprising the Pattali Makkal Katchi, the Congress, the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Communist Party of India-Marxist, CPI and the Indian Union Muslim League -- has swept all seats, including Pondicherry, to make it 40 out of 40.
Of the 29 seats announced at the time of writing this report, the DMK has bagged 12, the Congress 7, PMK 3, MDMK, CPM and CPI two each, and the IUML has one.
DPA candidates are leading in another 11 seats where counting is in progress.
Early analysis indicates that the unprecedented sweep owes to a combination of shrewd political alignments by the DMK, and an anti-incumbency wave, that gave DPA candidates over 52 per cent of the vote share. The AIDMK-BJP alliance, in an apparent attempt to lessen the latter factor, fielded a mix of party heavyweights and fresh faces -- to no avail, as senior leaders and newcomers alike took a drubbing.
The present results reverse the 1991 Lok Sabha polls, when the AIADMK-Congress combine won 38 of the 39 seats, riding on a sympathy wave created by the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi at Sriperumpudur.