Tamil Nadu elections 2016: Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK scripts ‘history’, DMK rues big loss; 5.55 lakh opt for NOTA

Tamil Nadu elections 2016: J Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK today clearly headed to retain power in Tamil Nadu by winning 134 seats as arch rival DMK gave a strong fight bagging 89 segments.

Tamil Nadu elections 2016: J Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK today clearly headed to retain power in Tamil Nadu by winning 134 seats as arch rival DMK gave a strong fight bagging 89 segments.

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, set to create history by becoming the first ever leader to retain power in the state since 1989, as she retains R K Nagar constituency defeating DMK rival by 39,545 votes. Jayalalithaa secured 97,218 votes against Shimla Muthuchozhan who polled 57,673 votes.

Of the 232 seats that went for voting on May 16, Congress has won 8 seats while Indian Union Muslim League has one seat in its pocket.

Her arch-rival and DMK President M Karunanidhi retained his Tiruvarur constituency by a huge margin of more than 65,000 votes.

Addressing jubilant party workers, Jayalalithaa called the victory a historic one and vowed to strive for the people with renewed vigour.

AIADMK supporters celebrate the party's victory in Tamil Nadu's assembly elections, at the party headquarters in Chennai on Thursday. PTI
AIADMK supporters celebrate the party’s victory in Tamil Nadu’s assembly elections, at the party headquarters in Chennai on Thursday. PTI

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa on Thursday led her AIADMK to a second five-year term, convincingly defeating a divided opposition and proving wrong exit polls that predicted her ouster.

“I am overwhelmed by the resounding victory given by the people. My party and I are indebted to the people of Tamil Nadu,” an emotive Jayalalithaa said as the AIADMK cruised to victory in 134 of the 232 assembly seats.

“After 1984, no ruling party in the state has been able to win an election and form the government for a successive term,” she added.

The actor-turned-politician, who is known to nurture larger national political ambitions, said there was no word in dictionary to describe her feelings. The victory “is truly historic”.

The DMK-Congress combine which had hoped to unseat Jayalalithaa had to settle for 97 seats, with the Congress tally getting reduced to just eight. A solitary seat went to DMK ally, the Indian Union Muslim League.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose party had dubbed Jayalalithaa corrupt during the election campaign, promptly congratulated her.

More than the DMK-Congress defeat was the washout of a six-party alliance led by actor-turned-politician and chief ministerial hopeful A. Vijaykanth who himself finished third in his constituency Ulundurpettai.

The CPI and MDMK — part of the six-party grouping — blamed their defeat on the “money power” unleashed by the AIADMK and the DMK.

“The AIADMK and DMK bribed the voters on a large scale,” MDMK leader Vaiko said. “It was the money power that won in the 2016 assembly elections.”

Added Communist leader R. Mutharasan: “We tried to form a third front but were not able to fight the money power.”

None of this made any difference to the tens of thousands of AIADMK supporters, including a large number of women, who celebrated the party’s victory outside Jayalalithaa’s residence and all across the state.

The PMK, which for the first time fought in all the constituencies, could not win a single seat. The Bharatiya Janata Party and its allies which too contested all the seats suffered a similar fate.

Polling was postponed in two constituencies by the Election Commission.

The DMK did make major gains but this proved to be mainly at the cost of other opposition parties – indicating that Jayalalithaa’s victory was made possible by a splintered opposition.

The bad news for the AIADMK came from Chennai, which was battered by flash floods in December and whose voters appeared to have overwhelmingly turned against the ruling party.

AIADMK candidates trailed behind the DMK in 10 of the 16 constituencies in the capital.

But Jayalalithaa retained her Radhakrishnan Nagar constituency in the city, trouncing the DMK by 39,545 votes.

DMK president and former chief minister M. Karunanidhi, 91, was also elected to the assembly from Thiruvarur — for the 13th time. He has never been defeated since he began contesting elections in 1957.

Tamil Nadu elections has many firsts
The May 2016 assembly elections in Tamil Nadu will go down in the history with many firsts, including being the first time since 1984, when the AIADMK has retained power.

AIADMK general secretary J.Jayalalithaa became the first chief minister to get elected for a successive term since 1984.

It was also the first time that AIADMK contested the highest number of constituencies – 227, while with its allies contesting under AIADMK’s two leaves symbol, it was the first time in the party’s history to have fought an election under its symbol in all the 234 seats.

For the first time, the elections saw several alternatives to AIADMK and DMK. But all drew blank at the polls.

READ | AIADMK comes to power again; Jayalalitha bucks tradition

Over 5.55 lakh Tamil Nadu voters opt for NOTA

Over 5.55 lakh Tamil Nadu voters were not happy with the candidates in the field and opted for “None of the Above” (NOTA) option, according to Election Commission of India.

According to the poll body, 555,383 voters in Tamil Nadu pressed the NOTA button on the electronic voting machines (EVMs) during the May 16 polls.

A total of 2,873 voters in the high profile Dr. Radhakrishnan Nagar constituency, where Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa was a contestant, preferred NOTA.

In Thiruvavur, from where DMK president M Karunanidhi got elected, 2,177 voters preferred NOTA.

In Kolathur seat, from where DMK’s M.K. Stalin got elected, 3,554 voters preferred NOTA.

Vote share of NOTA is higher than the vote share of parties like Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK), Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India- Marxist (CPI-M), Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) among others.

Tamil Nadu, with over 5.79 crore registered voters, had recorded 74.26 percent polling in the assembly polls held on May 16.

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