|HOME | NEWS | ELECTIONS '98 | POLLING BOOTH|
|January 21, 1998||
A matter of Kazhagams
As many as three different parties -- the Congress, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam -- have the distinction of emerging on top at different times during Lok Sabha elections held in the state so far.
After being the electorate's overwhelming favourite in each of the first three general elections, the Congress slid drastically in 1967 when it could bag only three seats out of a total complement of 39. The party of the sons of the soil, the DMK, stopped the Congress onslaught by claiming 25 seats. However, since that disastrous display the Congress has improved its performance with the onset of each poll, increasing its tally on each occasions. What is important is that this growth was possible only when it was allied with either of the two Dravida parties.
But in 1996, for the first time since it tied up with one of the two Dravida parties, it was wiped out completely, not winning even one seat.
The outcome of the 1989 and 1991 election was almost identical, with the Congress emerging triumphant in 27 and 28 constituencies respectively. Under the terms of the alliance with the AIADMK, the Congress contested the majority of the Lok Sabha seats while the regional party was allowed to fight the maximum of the assembly seats, the ratio in both cases being roughly 3:1. Thus, the AIADMK won 11 LS seats both times.
In many ways, the 1996 election was historic. The Congress under P V Narasimha Rao, after dilly-dallying over the issue of aligning with the hugely unpopular Jayalalitha Jayaram and her AIADMK, finally decided to continue the alliance. This provoked a backlash from the dominant group within the local Congress unit which broke off as the Tamil Maanila Congress and aligned with the DMK. This alliance swept the state, winning all the 39 LS seats, and for the first time the AIADMK front did not win even a single seat.
What is interesting about next month's election is that the Congress is not aligned with either of the Dravida parties, and is looking after its own. Chief campaigner Sonia Gandhi in fact, chose to kick off her national canvassing from this state, and given the longstanding affinity the state has with the Gandhi family, it is still an open election. The AIADMK, too, broke off from its steady partner, the Congress, and has decided to throw in its lot with the BJP, thereby offering the national party a toehold for the first time in the politically crucial state.
The DMK alliance, having swept the poll two years ago, has only direction to go after reaching the top, and that is down. What may go against it is the incumbency factor.
The complete party-wise break-up of the parties's electoral performance in Tamil Nadu down the years:
Lok Sabha Election
The state was known as Madras Presidency till 1962.
INFOTECH | TRAVEL | LIFE/STYLE | FREEDOM | FEEDBACK