Congress, BJP agree with findings; ‘Cho’ Ramaswamy finds the exercise too early

The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) on Tuesday expressed reservations about the vote share estimate of political parties in Tamil Nadu given in the CNN-IBN-The Hindu election tracker survey, but the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party broadly agreed with the findings.

There was no comment from the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIAMDK) but ‘Cho’ S. Ramaswamy, veteran journalist, is of the view that when there are several months to go for the general election and in the absence of clarity over political alignments, any attempt to gauge the mood of voters is an exercise in futility.

Pointing out that the opinion poll was based on a hypothetical situation, DMK MP Kanimozhi said even in the Lok Sabha elections issues specific to the State determined the voting pattern of people. Describing the survey projections as “totally incongruous,” she asserted that in Tamil Nadu, the influence of regional parties was always overwhelming even in the Lok Sabha polls.

Charge against AIADMK

Criticising the AIADMK government for its failure to execute any major infrastructure project, Ms. Kanimozhi wondered how the ruling party could get a big margin when the survey talked of development and economy as key concerns of voters.

Mr. Ramaswamy, who is sceptical of opinion polls in general, said that in the given instance, the individual strength of the parties had been assessed. “While I find the projection of seats for the DMK is overestimated, it is underestimated in respect of the AIADMK,” he said, adding he did not agree with what had been projected for the Pattali Makkal Katchi, the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam and the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi.

He dismissed the vote share estimate for the Congress (18 per cent) and said it would be in single digit. The veteran journalist, however, concurred with one of the findings on price rise, and said the issue was one of the major concerns of voters.

Modi issue

As for the BJP projecting the Gujarat Chief Minister as its face, Mr. Ramaswamy asserted that “he [Narendra Modi] will also be a factor in Tamil Nadu.” If he became the prime ministerial candidate, this would become a critical issue, relegating all other issues to the background.

Endorsing the survey finding on his party’s individual strength, B.S. Gnanadesikan, Tamil Nadu Congress Committee president, said the 18 per cent vote share, as reflected in the opinion poll, vindicated his position that the performance of his party in the 2011 local bodies’ election did not reflect correctly the strength of the Congress in the State, when the party got 5.6 per cent. “We are bound to get more at the time of the election.”

As for the mood against the Union government as captured by the opinion poll, Mr. Gnanadesikan, who has been the president since November 2011, said it might remain a talking point in urban areas but it would get dissipated like passing clouds.

Pon. Radhakrishnan, former Union Minister and who has been the BJP State president since December 2009, gave three reasons for his party’s growth — “solid groundwork of his party volunteers, genuine interest of the national leadership in issues concerning Tamil Nadu, particularly the Sri Lankan Tamils question, and the projection of Narendra Modi by the party as its face.” He hoped that his party would eventually get much more than what has been estimated.

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