A close look at the performance of parties in the Tamil Nadu Assembly election shows that alliance arithmetic has worked far better in the victorious All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) front than in the rival combine.
Mutual transfer of votes appears to have been the weak link in the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) front, as there is a marked difference between the performance of the alliance leader and that of the other allies, including the Congress.
In an election in which all major parties were part of one or the other alliance, it is neither easy nor accurate to assess any individual party's performance based on percentage of total votes polled in the State, but the percentage of the votes recorded in the constituencies in which they contested gives some idea about the nature of their performance.
The drubbing suffered by the DMK alliance can be partly attributed to the mismatch in the percentage of votes polled by each individual party in the constituencies it contested. While the DMK received 42.11 per cent of the total votes polled in the 124 constituencies in which it fielded candidates, its principal ally, the Congress, managed only 35.64 per cent of the votes in the 63 seats it contested.
In contrast, the DMK won 45.99 per cent of the 132 seats it contested in 2006 and the Congress garnered 42.65 per cent in 48 seats. The two parties won 96 and 34 seats respectively, but this time they managed merely 23 and five seats respectively.
The Pattali Makkal Katchi, which was allotted 30 seats in the DMK front, did a little better than the Congress by raking in 39.60 per cent of the votes polled in these constituencies, but won only three seats. Last time, it had contested in 31 and bagged 43.43 per cent of the votes to win 18 seats.
The Viduthalai Chiruthaikal Katchi (VCK)'s performance dipped by two percentage points from its 2006 figure of 36.09 per cent in nine seats, contested as part of the AIADMK front. It had then won two seats. However, in the present election, it polled only 34.01 percent of the votes in the 10 constituencies allocated to it, and failed to win a seat.
Weakest in alliance
The Kongunadu Munnetra Kazhagam (KMK), a party that the DMK was banking on to deliver en bloc the votes of the dominant Gounder community in the western region, an AIADMK stronghold, failed to open its account. Its performance was the weakest in the alliance, as it garnered only 32.50 per cent of the votes polled in the seven constituencies it contested.
The picture in the AIADMK front, on the other hand, is one of more effective transfer of votes among the principal allies, as even the lowest contributor, the Manithaneya Makkal Katchi (MnMK), polled 42.36 per cent in the three seats it contested, of which it lost one.
The AIADMK understandably scored a big lead over others by farming 53.93 per cent of the valid votes in the 165 constituencies. Its main partner, the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK), polled 44.84 per cent of the votes in the 41 seats it fought, to earn 29 seats.
The Left parties seem to have gained much from the alliance, as the CPI(M) accounted for 50.29 per cent of the votes in the 12 seats it contested, of which it won 10. The CPI was also in the high 40s, having taken 48.63 per cent in its 10 constituencies and won nine.
Among smaller parties, the Puthiya Tamizhagam performed impressively, winning both its seats and cornering 54.30 per cent of the votes polled in them. The All India Forward Bloc won its lone seat with 51.22 per cent of the votes polled in the constituency.
In terms of seats, the parties in the AIADMK alliance had a big strike rate, with the AIADMK winning 90.90 per cent of the seats it contested (150 out of 165), the DMDK achieving 70.73 per cent success, while the CPI 90 per cent.
The CPI(M) had a strike rate of 83.33 per cent.
Keywords: Tamil Nadu Assembly election