Tamil Nadu

Higher turnout and victory margin not linked

Contrary to the perception among sections of politicians and experts, there is no co-relation between a higher voter turnout and the margin of victory for the winner, going by the 2016 Assembly election results.

At Palacode in Dharmapuri district, where Tamil Nadu’s highest turnout of 88.57% was registered, Higher Education Minister K.P. Anbalagan won by 5,983 votes over his nearest DMK rival. The margin was around 3.2%. This time too, the constituency recorded the highest polling of 87.37%. Mr. Anbalagan is in the fray again.

Karur, another high-profile constituency from where Transport Minister M.R. Vijayabhaskar was elected five years ago, registered a turnout of 80.5%. But he won by only 441 votes. This time, the constituency reported a turnout of 83.57%. Mr. Vijayabhaskar is pitted against another prominent candidate V. Senthil Balaji of the DMK.

At the same time, there are instances of high-turnout constituencies coming out with huge margins. In Oddanchatram, where turnout over and above 80% is the norm since 2011, the winner, R. Sakkarapani of the DMK, secured a margin of 65,727 votes five years ago.

Tamil Culture-Language Minister K. Pandiarajan, who was elected from Avadi, an urban constituency, with a difference of 1,395 votes in 2016, however, feels the margin of victory is linked to the turnout. “I could sense it with my experience of having contested in four elections,” he says.

Former School Education Minister and DMK nominee in Tiruchuli Thangam Thennarasu concurs with him. Mr. Thennarasu, who first entered the Assembly in 1998, points out that there is a possibility of the victory margin being very high in high-turnout constituencies. However, the situation could change, depending upon the ability of a third contestant or party in affecting the fortunes of the first two candidates.

Academic G. Palanithurai says the difference is bound to be high when one candidate scores over the others in mobilising the electors.

There is a discordant view even among political leaders.

A senior functionary of the AIADMK says there have been instances of candidates scoring huge margins in constituencies where the turnout was lower than the State average. The candidates’ base in their constituencies is a crucial factor in shaping the margins regardless of the turnout, he says.

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Printable version | May 17, 2021 7:32:57 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/higher-turnout-and-victory-margin-not-linked/article34388826.ece

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