Of all the four states and a Union Territory that have gone to polls in the last one month, Tamil Nadu will perhaps be the most interesting one to watch out for on May 19.
Assembly Polls 2016 Coverage; What May 16 exit polls said
While all exit/post polls that came out on Monday (May 16) after the elections concluded in Tamil nadu, Kerala and Puducherry (Bengal and Assam polls have already been conducted) predicted clear victories for Trinamool Congress (TMC) in West Bengal, BJP in Assam and Left Democratic Front in Kerala and DMK alliance in Puducherry, the case of Tamil Nadu was different. [TN: Pre-poll surveys 2016]
CVoter's prediction was closest of all in 2011 TN polls
For the state which has been ruled by the AIADMK led J Jayalalithaa, all except one post-poll survey has predicted the return of the DMK alliance to power---something which has been the trend in the state since 1989. But to add to it---the CVoter survey---which only has predicted a reversal of the 27-year-old trend by forecasting a victory for the ruling party was the closest to the actual result when it came to the 2011 Assembly election. This time, the CVoter has predicted 139 seats for the AIADMK alliance and 78 for the DMK alliance. Others have been predicted to win 17 seats.
CVoter predicted 168-176 for AIADMK+; it got 203
While the post-poll surveys conducted by Headlines Today-ORG Poll, CNN IBN-The Week, Asianet- C Fore Poll and Star News predicted nearly split results between the two main parties, the CVB-Newx-Cvoter exit poll gave the AIADMK alliance a decisive mandate between 168-176 seats. The DMK, which was in power at that time, was predicted to win only between 54-62 seats.
CVoter gave DMK+ the lowest number of seats: 54-62; it got 31
The final result showed the AIADMK-led alliance winning 203 of the 234 seats with Jayalalithaa's party alone winning 150 of them. The DMK-led alliance was reduced to just 31 seats with Karunanidhi's party winning a paltry 23. The Congress was in alliance with the DMK then while Vijaykanth's DMDK, which is leading the third front this time, was an ally of the AIADMK but fell apart after the polls.
The CNN-IBN-The Week survey and Asianet-C Fore also gave the AIADMK-led alliance more seats (126 and 132, respectively) but they were not as overwhelming as the final result.
CVoter predicts what TN has not seen since 1984
If other exit polls are considered a guiding factor, then certainly Tamil Nadu will see its normal story unfolding yet again. But if the Cvoter's prediction becomes the reality, then it will be the first time since the days of the late MG Ramachandran that the state will see the establishment overcoming the anti-incumbency challenge. In 1984, MGR won his third consecutive election in Tamil Nadu.
The presence of the third and fourth groupings has made predictions tricky this time
But whatever be the final outcome on May 19, there is no denying the fact that this year's election in Tamil Nadu has been a unique one. An important aspect of this election is that apart from the Congress joining the DMK, the regular scenario of the two major parties leading a cluster of small parties was missing.
The CVoter had predicted 27 seats for AIADMK in 2014 LS poll; it got 37
Besides the two alliances led by the AIADMK and DMK, some other groupings, too, are contesting this election. There is a six-party People's Welfare Front led by the DMDK with MDMK, TMC, VCK and Left parties in it. There is also a BJP-led small alliance comprising the IJK, AIMKMK and MMK while the PMK is contesting it alone. [TN polls 2016: Know about the parties]
The multi-cornered contest has made it hard for the pollsters to make accurate forecasts, something which has always been tricky in Tami Nadu. It makes the task of converting the sampled vote-share into seats difficult. Conventional wisdom suggests that it will be end for Jayalalithaa---against the backdrop of the corruption charges and the Chennai floods last year, but the presence of the third alternatives could pose a serious challenge to the DMK in continuing the same oscillatory pattern in the state's electoral politics.