Tamil Nadu

For AIADMK, high jinks over high turnout

The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam has not merely ended a history of regime change in Tamil Nadu at every election. By winning this time, it has overturned the widely believed hypothesis that a high voter turnout means bad news for the ruling party.

The State saw an overall turnout of 74.26 per cent in the May 16 election. In 133 constituencies that saw a voter turnout of over 75 per cent, which is higher than the State average, the AIADMK bagged 78 seats, while the DMK managed to win 54 and its ally, Congress, one.

And what happened in places with a still higher voting percentage? In 61 constituencies that saw voters turning out in excess of 80 per cent, the AIADMK was still in victory mode. It won 38 of those seats. The remaining 23 went to the DMK.

The result may come as a surprise to those who believe that a high voter turnout is normally an indication of voter dissatisfaction and therefore, a vote against the ruling party. Psephologist Venkatesh Athreya affirms that the anti-incumbency factor alone need not be the reason for a high voter turnout. “Parties such as the PMK can actually increase the voter turnout by their door-to-door campaigning. You could see this in constituencies where the Left is strong as well. When the voters are polarised ideologically or based on identity, it could also result in a high turnout,” he says.

Though the results have proved that the real fight was only between the two Dravidian majors, the other fronts have played spoilsport in several constituencies. “This could be true in other districts as well. It is true that a huge voter turnout actually indicates an anti-incumbency wave. People turn up in huge numbers to vote out the government. But, this time around, it looks like there was no strong anti-incumbency and high voter turnout could have happened because of the PMK in northern and north-western Tamil Nadu,” he said.

More women voters What is also interesting is that there are around 143 constituencies in which women voters were more than male voters. Of these 143 constituencies, 85 overlapped with a high voter turnout in general, which could explain the AIADMK’s good show.

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Printable version | Jun 30, 2022 8:49:51 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/for-aiadmk-high-jinks-over-high-turnout/article8631146.ece