Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu remains a Dravidian stronghold

The results of the Lok Sabha elections have once again reinforced the position that Tamil Nadu remains a Dravidian stronghold with the two principal parties, AIADMK and DMK, together securing two-thirds of the votes polled in the Lok Sabha elections.

This time, the AIADMK bagged 44.3 per cent of the votes, and its archrival, DMK, 23.6, totalling 67.9 per cent. This has been the highest vote share polled by the two parties collectively in the Lok Sabha polls since 1977 when the AIADMK made its debut in the general election.

The previous high of 54.37 per cent was registered in 2004 when the ruling party obtained 29.77 per cent and the DMK 24.6 per cent. At that time, the DMK won in all 16 constituencies it contested, whereas the AIADMK drew a blank, despite putting up its nominees in 33 seats.

If one were to take into account the vote shares of the two parties in the Lok Sabha elections from 1977 to 2009, the Dravidian parties, on an average, netted 46 per cent of the votes collectively. During 1980-1996 when either of the parties aligned itself with the Congress in every election, it was the practice of the Dravidian parties to contest in a fewer number of seats than the national party.

At that time, the combined vote share ranged from 48.39 per cent in 1980 to 33.47 in 1996.

The 1998 Lok Sabha elections marked a shift in the approach of the AIADMK: it decided to take the lion’s share of constituencies. Heading a coalition that included the BJP, the AIADMK contested in 22 seats and won in 18.

The next year, the DMK, too, adopted this strategy by contesting 19 seats and bagging 12. The principal parties polled together 50.81 per cent.

At that time, the AIADMK, which contested 24 seats and bagged 10, headed a front that included the Congress, while the DMK-led alliance included the BJP. In 2004, the BJP tied up with the AIADMK and the Congress with the DMK. Five years later, when the DMK continued its ties with the Congress, it got 25.09 per cent in 22 constituencies. The AIADMK, which led a coalition consisting of the Left parties, polled 22.88 per cent in 23 seats.

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Printable version | Nov 29, 2020 3:32:40 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/tamil-nadu-remains-a-dravidian-stronghold/article6020959.ece

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