Issues like prohibition and allegations of corruption directed against AIADMK by the opposition failed to cut any ice with the voters as the ruling dispensation not only retained power but also bettered its vote share in the May 16 Tamil Nadu Assembly polls.
In a wide open electoral battle that saw a six-cornered fight, the split in vote share among parties like DMDK, PMK and BJP seemed to have dented the chances of the main opposition DMK, which pulled out all stops to come back to power after a five year hiatus.
This even included party Treasurer M K Stalin’s much hyped pre-poll initiative ‘Namakku Name’ where he covered all 234 Assembly seats in the state.
AIADMK, which fielded its candidates in 227 seats, made sure its small-time allies also contested on the party’s Two Leaves symbol, virtually making its presence felt in all 234 seats. However, elections were held only for 232 segments as the Election Commission had deferred polling in Aravakurichi and Thanjavur to May 23 following allegations of money power.
AIADMK may have seen a dip in the number of seats it scored this time at 134 as against 150 last time, but the party managed to increase its vote share. The party had registered a vote share of 39.80 per cent in 2011 with 150 seats but made gains this time by registering 40.8 per cent.
The party bucked the trend of parties alternatively forming government in the state, belying most exit polls that did not give it a favourable verdict.
Amid a strong perceived anti-liquor mood where all parties, including DMK promised dry law with a single order, AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa took a gamble when she promised the same law, albeit in a phased manner.
At the meetings attended by women in large numbers, the 68-year-old leader repeatedly insisted that prohibition at one go was not possible as it required rehabilitation of affected persons.
She also stuck to doling out freebies, saying they were meant for people’s welfare, and ridiculed the criticism by others including DMK, saying she was with the poor when it came to providing such sops.