Combined tally of Congress, DMDK, CPI, AAP higher than the victory margin
It was one of the few constituencies in the State which even some exit polls had found too close to call. Some pre-poll surveys had even tipped a DMK win.
Given the multi-cornered fight, the Tiruchi constituency was widely expected to witness a close contest in the Lok Sabha election and many had predicted that the margin of victory would be thin, whoever emerged the victor.
But the big margin of victory of over 1.50 lakhs achieved by P. Kumar, the sitting MP of AIADMK, came as a surprise to political observers and even some within the party, especially as it went to the polls without any allies. The party has not had a great record in the constituency either, winning just twice before here since 1957.
Mr.Kumar himself had just scraped through by a margin of little over 4,000 votes in 2009 and this time around the contest was considered to be even tougher. The DMK had mounted a direct challenge entering the fray in the constituency after three decades. Although the fight was mainly between the two rival Dravidian parties, the Congress and the DMDK, now part of a rainbow alliance led by the BJP, were expected to split the votes giving a tough time to Mr.Kumar.
The split in votes did happen but really did not matter, as there was no consolidation of Opposition votes.
The combined tally of the Congress candidate Sarubala R.Tondaiman, DMDK’s A.M.G.Vijayakumar, both contesting for the second time, S.Sridhar of the CPI (M) and P.Ravi of the Aam Aadmi Party, worked out to over 1.68 lakh votes, higher than the margin of victory of Mr.Kumar.
Interestingly, the DMDK with all its allies could manage just about 33,000 more votes than the 2009 election. Though he retained the third place, Mr.Vijaykumar’s tally increased from 61,742 votes to 94,785 only.
Although the PMK does not have major presence here, the MDMK and BJP enjoy decent support. Both the BJP and the MDMK have won Lok Sabha seat previously, albeit with the support of allies, and hence were expected to add to the strength of the DMDK this time.
Ms.Tondaiman too was expected to put up a better performance although it was quite evident that the Congress was battling anti-incumbency. She was expected to cash in on the considerable goodwill earned as a two-time Mayor of the City but she could manage to finish fourth with just over 51,000 votes.