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Summary of TN, Kerala and Puducherry Elections

May 17, 2016

Voters braved rains in Kerala and Tamil Nadu, but the turnout, as per the initial analysis of figures by the Election Commission on Monday night was less than the 2011 assembly elections as well as the 2014 Lok Sabha elections figures in both the states.
Last Phase of 2016 Elections: Impressive turnout in Puducherry, two states

Voting Percentage

The figures received till late Monday night showed over 73% polling in Tamil Nadu and 72% in Kerala. The third poll-bound southern state, Puducherry, though, saw a voter turnout of 84.11 per cent till 8 pm on Monday which was higher than 75.12% in the 2011 assembly polls and 84.05% in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls figures.

All these figures are likely to be revised upwardly as they were not the final figures.

Following Monday’s polling, the over two-month-old election process in the Union Territory of Puducherry and four states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal and Assam now come to an end. The results will be declared on 19 May.

Candidates

In all, fate of 3776 candidates including 320 women in TN, 1203 candidates including 109 women in Kerala, and 344 candidates including 21 women were sealed in the ballot boxes in the 234 constituencies of Tamil Nadu, 140 of Kerala, and 30 of Puducherry.

While the regional parties lead the pack in all these states, stakes are high for the two national parties, the Congress and the BJP too, here.

Anti-Incumbency Factor in Tamil Nadu and Kerala

With a comparatively lower polling percentage in TN and Kerala, much is being talked about the incumbency factor, too. This is the first time in Tamil Nadu that the state witnessed multi-cornered fight where the People’s Welfare Front, the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) as well as the BJP-led NDA have emerged as key players trying to make dent in the bipolar politics of the AIADMK and the DMK.

Exit polls, though don’t give any chance to the so called ‘Third Front’, are divided in their verdict. While the CVoter-Times Now exit poll favours the ruling AIADMK, Today’s Chanakya-NewsX as well as Zix My India-India Today predict the return of the DMK to power after five years.

Yet, in a “no wave” elections amidst diluted Dravidian ideology, a victory for AIADMK could well resurrect its supremo and incumbent Chief Minister J. Jayalalitha, whose present stint as CM was interrupted by her conviction in the disproportionate asset case till she returned after winning the legal battle. At the same time, DMK’s victory could well seal the fate of Stalin, as his father and ageing warhorse, M.Karunanidhi, will feel empowered to name the former as his successor.

Exit Polls Predict Victory for UDF in Kerala

In Kerala, however, pollsters are largely unanimous over the defeat of the incumbent chief minister Oomen Chandy-led UDF and victory of the Left Democratic Front (LDF). However, it is worth recalling that a mere 0.89 per cent shift of the votes in the last Assembly polls in the state had helped the Congress-led UDF raise its seats from 40 in 2006 to 72 in 2011 in the 140-member Kerala House!

It is in this context that the role of the BJP-led NDA would be a crucial factor in Kerala politics this time and how the party fares in the elections could well be a determining factor. Small swings of even 0.25 per cent have resulted in creating winners between the traditional rivals, the UDF and the LDF, since 1977. In case the BJP repeats its performance of 2014 Lok Sabha elections when it had cornered 10.63 per cent, or the 2015 local body elections where it had got 14% vote share, it could well emerge as the kingmaker in Kerala this time. It may be mentioned that never before had the BJP’s vote share in Kerala elections had exceeded 5% till 2011 when it had secured 6.03% votes. In the process, it had eaten away 1.3% vote share of the LDF then.

If BJP wins Tamil Nadu

If at all the BJP opens its account in Tamil Nadu, wins a couple of seats in Kerala as predicted by a few exit polls, and also disturbs the incumbent Congress government in Assam, where the exit polls are predicting its victory to power for the first time ever, the saffron brigade will go to the impending UP polls with renewed confidence.

Besides, the DMK winning in Tamil Nadu will bring focus more on Stalin than the DMK partner, Congress; the Trinamool Congress retaining power in West Bengal; and the BJP wresting Assam from the Congress, it will be the Congress Party that will be pushed deeper to the throes of despair. Already after being wiped out in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, it is yet to win an election on its own.

Post 2014 general elections, it tasted defeats in assembly elections in Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Haryana and was completely wiped out in Delhi. The party was forced to join hands with its rivals, the Rashtriya Janata Party and Janata Dal (United), as their junior ally in Bihar and thereafter, with the Left Front in West Bengal.

Prospects of Congress in Puducherry

The Congress, which has allied with the DMK also looks for success in the 30-member Puducherry assembly where it was in power till 2011 before the present chief minister N.Rangaswamy engineered a split in the party to form his All India Namathu Rajiyam Congress before the last state elections. The Congress desperately hopes for anti-incumbency to work against Rangaswamy whose party has decided to go alone in the elections unlike last time when it had allied with the AIADMK only to dump the latter to form the government with the support of an independent MLA. [It may be mentioned that AIADMK as well as DMK do matter in Puducherry the state has enclaves in Karaikal in Tamil Nadu (5 seats), Mahe in Kerala (1 seat) and Yanam in Andhra Pradesh (1 seat)].

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Disclaimer: The views expressed are of those of the author and do not represent the views of Elections.in.

I am a journalist, educationist and filmmaker with over twenty years of experience in the media industry. I have worked in different capacities in all formats (print, television and web) in prestigious media organizations in India and abroad. As a journalist I have covered social issues, natural calamities, successive state assembly as well as parliament elections since 1989, government offices, Indian political parties, state legislative assemblies as well as Indian Parliament.

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