Tamil Nadu polls 2016: Why Vijaykanth's go-alone stand will help Jayalalithaa

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The DMDK's decision to contest the May 16 Assembly election in Tamil Nadu has made quite an impact on the state's politics. Though political pundits analyse the situation from different perspectives, but all almost agree on the fact that this decision, if it is the final one for the elections are still a good two months away, will help the ruling AIADMK and reduce DMDK chief Vijaykanth's own prospects.

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On the AIADMK gaining from the decision taken by Vijaykanth, who it had allied with in the 2011 Assembly elections but saw the tie-up falling apart after the polls, some are of the opinion that the BJP, which has been wooing the DMDK chief for some time now, might have pushed him to go alone in the election.


DMDK's going alone will hurt DMK

That will do favour to AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa, who has a cordial relation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, by dividing the anti-AIADMK votes, doing a big disservice to the DMK-Congress alliance, which was planning to expand itself to defeat the ruling party. The fact that there were too many statements were emerging from the DMK's camp on Vijaykanth of late also dealt a blow to Karunanidhi's party.

Vijaykanth, popularly called Captain in Tamil Nadu politics, may also gain from both the AIADMK government in the state and the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre for taking this stand. [DMDK's decision won't hurt us, says DMK]

With two months remaining before the polls, Vijaykanth can still change his opinion and go with the BJP provided the latter makes him the chief ministerial candidate.

If BJP cannot gain, it can plan to hurt the DMK-Congress alliance

Though that may is unlikely to help either the BJP or DMDK as none can impact the polls decisively, the BJP could at least help the AIADMK and harm the DMK by making the DMDK contest alone. In that way, the BJP will not only succeed in challenging the DMK-Congress alliance without actually making an alliance but will also keep the doors open for Jayalalithaa to pay back the favour when it will matter.

Analysing the DMDK vote-share factor:

  • The DMDK, which was formed in 2005, contested its first election in 2006. It went alone in that state election and fielded 232 candidates and finished with 8.4 per cent vote share (one seat).
  • In the 2009 Lok Sabha election, the party gave candidates in all 39 parliamentary seats and finished with 10 per cent vote share. It was a two-point improvement for the DMDK within three years.
  • In the 2011 Assembly election, the DMDK made an alliance with the AIADMK to defeat the DMK. In this election, it gave candidate in only 41 seats, 191 less than that of the 2006 poll and the alliance bagged 46 per cent vote share. The DMDK's vote share was eight per cent while the contested vote share was 45 per cent. It won 29 seats in this election.

    However, it will be interesting to know how much percentage of this 45 per cent contested vote share of the DMDK came from its own supporters or whether the Jayalalithaa factor helped it garner that figure.

  • In the 2014 Lok Sabha election, the DMDK entered a rainbow coalition with the BJP, MDMK and the PMK. The DMDK was considered the face of this coalition since it contested in 14 seats, the most among all the allies. In terms of Assembly seats, the DMDK contested in 84 seats among its allies (BJP 54, PMK 48 and MDMK 42).

    But the DMDK fared worst among all the allies as it could bag just 14.6 per cent of votes (BJP had 24.1 per cent, PMK 21.2 per cent and MDMK 19.3 per cent). One interesting aspect of this election result was the contest between the AIADMK and DMDK, who parted ways after that sweeping victory in 2011.

It was seen that the AIADMK (won 37 of 39 seats) defeated the DMDK by the biggest margin among all opponents. For example, an AIADMK candidate's vote share was 48 per cent in a seat where he/she faced a DMDK opponent. In case of a MDMK or PMK opponent, it was 45 per cent and in case of the BJP, it was 40 per cent. It means the AIADMK's victory against the DMDK was much higher compared to the other parties.

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