DMK-led DPA secures absolute majority
Chennai, May 11 (UNI) The DMK-led Democratic Progressive Alliance (DPA) rode to power in Tamil Nadu, securing absolute majority, winning an impressive tally of 163 seats in the May eight assembly elections for 234 seats.
Repeating its known trend of changing governments alternately beteween the Dravidian parties, the people of the state voted out the AIADMK, reducing the party-led front to a mere 68 seats.
In the fiercely fought elections, the freebies of the DMK, rewarded it handsomely, helping to make inroads into the traditionally AIADMK strongholds in the southern and western regions of the state and bounced back to power after a gap of five years.
The results indicate that coalition government would become inevitable for the first time after a gap of more than five decades as the DMK, on its own, could win only 96 seats and would have to rely on its alliance partners for forming the government.
Among its partners, Congress won 34 seats, the Pattali Makkal Katchi 18, CPI(M) nine and the CPI six.
The ruling AIADMK-led combine secured only 68 seats and lost power. The AIADMK alone secured 60 seats, a loss of 71 seats from its earlier strength, while its other ally, the MDMK, winning six seats and the Dalit Panthers of India (DPI) two seats.
The MDMK, which walked out of the DPA at the eleventh hour to join hands with the AIADMK, made its debut entry into the Assembly with a tally of six seats. So was also the DPI with two seats against one seat in the 2001 elections.
Making its electoral debut, the fledging Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam opened its account with party president and actor Vijayakanth winning from Vridachalam Assembly constituency in the Vanniya dominated Cuddalore district.
The DMK victory was led by its patriarch octogenarian M Karunanidhi, who won from Chepauk, scoring a hat-trick. He defeated his nearest IUML candidate Dawood Miankhan, who contested as Independent by a slender margin of 8,522 votes. Mr Karunanidhi polled 34,184 against 25,660 votes polled by Mr Miankhan.
Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa retained her Andipatti seat, defeating her nearest DMK rival Seeman by a reduced margin of 25,186 againt her previous winning margin of more than 41,000 in the by-elections held in 2002.
Ms Jayalalithaa's cabinet colleagues who survived in the hustings are O Panneerselvam, D Jayakumar, R Viswanathan, Pollachi Jayaraman, Ce V Shanmugam, K Pandurangan, Se M Velusamy, C Karapasamy R Vaithilingam and Ms Jayalalithaa's schoolmate Bader Sayeed.
Prominent DMK winners, include DMK General Secretary K Anbazhagan, Treasurer Arcot N Veerasamy, Deputy General Secretary M K Stalin and former Ministers Durai Murugan, K Ponmudi and M R K Panneerselvam.
The election saw as many as nine AIADMK Ministers biting the dust. Those who lost are Health Minister Thalaivai Sundaram, Industries Minister Nainar Nagenthiran, Vijayalakshmi Palanisamy, B Valarmathi, V Somasundram, A Miller, M Radhakrishnan, S Ramachandran and P V Damodaran.
On the DMK side, actor politican Napoleon, lost to fellow actor S Vee Sekhar in Mylapore, DMK leader J Anbazhagan in T Nagar, A D Senthureswaran, an international basketball player. He was defeated by former DMK Minister K N Nehru and came a poor third.
Of the elections held for 234, results have been declared for all but one seat. In Anaicut, from where AIADMK Minister K Pandurangan is contesting, the results could not be announced as the rival PMK candidate Mrs Varalakshmi demanded a re-count following a technical snag in one Electronic Voting Machine.
Though there were 1,222 independents in the fray, only one could make it to the Assembly. T Ramachandran, the local DMK municipal chairman, who contested as a rebel, defeated his nearest CPI nominee P Nagaraja Reddy.