Did Modi wave skip State?

‘Votes meant for him might have gone to AIADMK’

Updated - November 17, 2021 04:12 am IST

Published - May 17, 2014 05:16 am IST - CHENNAI

One of the questions that kept popping up on the day of results in the State: Did the Modi wave that the BJP crested in the rest of the country have an impact in Tamil Nadu?

What emerged on Friday was an overwhelming verdict, in favour of one Dravidian party and the routing of its principal rival. The ruling AIADMK cornered 37 of the 39 seats, an acknowledgement of the development agenda of the government too, while the DMK could not even open its account.

One of the remaining two seats went to Pon Radhakrishnan of the BJP and the other to Anbumani Ramadoss of the PMK, a BJP ally. Did the Modi wave then pass Tamil Nadu by? The sway of the two key Dravidian parties — the AIADMK and the DMK — in any poll in Tamil Nadu is a given. Elections have mostly hinged on the play between the two Dravidian parties placed at the polar opposites of the political spectrum.

‘Third fronts’ formed as an alternative have not been very successful, historically. Only two other polls in the recent past have the ‘Third Front’ alternative in Tamil Nadu been successful in terms of garnering a double-digit vote share, though not in terms of winning seats.

Once in 1999, when G.K. Moopanar, running his break-away Tamil Manila Congress and allying with Tirumavalavan’s Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi, took about 10 per cent of the vote share. A decade later in 2009, when the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMDK) of Vijayakanth contested independently in all 39 seats, positing itself as the ‘Third Front,’ took just over 10 per cent of the vote share, the highest for his party.

This time around, the BJP’s vote share has gone up to 5 per cent, possibly the highest ever for the party in the State (Without an alliance with the key Dravidian parties).

The rainbow alliance the party cobbled together, including the DMDK, the MDMK and the PMK, garnered 18 per cent of the votes polled, according to initial figures. This makes it the most successful ‘Third Front’ till date in Tamil Nadu.

Poll watchers say small parcels of votes that might have been meant for Mr. Modi could have been gone to the AIADMK, perceived as a natural ally of the BJP. Indeed, for a long while, it was believed that the AIADMK would bolster the BJP in Delhi, though the result has obviated the need for that. Despite this perception, there has neither been any Modi wave that was visible in the State nor any strong undercurrent propelled by the much-touted ‘Modi factor,’ going by the final tally.

In the bay, there are all kinds of waves: some rise with the flow, some lap mildly on the sands. The one in Tamil Nadu perhaps just wets the feet of those standing on the shores.

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