The AIADMK's return to power in the Assembly elections, despite being spectacular, was not sufficient to best its 1991 record in securing vote share.
At that time, the party, along with the Congress, faced the elections and contested from 168 constituencies, three more than in 2011. Its vote share then was 44.39 per cent whereas the party has bagged 38.41 per cent of the total votes polled now. The 1991 elections were marred by the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi in Sriperumbudur on May 21, 1991.
But, what was more significant was that, as has happened now, it was Jayalalithaa who had then spearheaded the poll campaign for her front as general secretary of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK). She became Chief Minister for the first time then.
The 2011 performance was marginally less than what the party had achieved in 1980 when its founder M.G. Ramachandran made a spectacular comeback after the dismissal of his ministry in February that year. Fighting the elections with a number of smaller parties, the AIADMK, 31 years ago, won 129 seats and polled 38.75 per cent.
If one were to exclude the performance of the AIADMK in 1989, when it was a divided house and two groups faced the elections separately on two different symbols, the party got the lowest vote share, 21.47 per cent, in 1996. At that time, the AIADMK was trounced and Ms. Jayalalithaa herself lost from Bargur constituency. It won in just four constituencies.
An interesting feature of the performance of the AIADMK over the years was that it secured only 30.36 per cent of votes in the 1977 elections, described by many as historic, given the fact that the party captured power for the first time. On all other occasions, except in 1991, the party had polled higher vote share. Even in 2006, when the party lost power, it got 32.64 per cent.