Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu’s crunch seats where margins yo-yoed

Eighteen constituencies across Tamil Nadu could have made the difference between victory and loss for the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.

In these seats, the Jayalalithaa-led party won with a margin of fewer than 3,000 votes. In 10 of them, AIADMK candidates scraped through, with a victory margin below 1,000.

Significantly, in 12 of these seats, the two Dravidian parties clashed in a direct contest, and in four, the AIADMK faced off with the Congress party, an ally of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.

The 18 constituencies are Radhapuram, Kattumanarkoil, Kovilpatti, Karur, Tenkasi, Ottapidaram, Perambur, Thiruporur, Bargur, Peravurani, Kinathukadavu, Avadi, Chidambaram, Ariyalur, Modakurichi, Aranthangi, Virugambakkam, and Uthangarai. So regional influences had no role in the narrow margins.

‘A tug of war’

“It was a tug of war. The fight was great and intense, especially in a direct contest between the AIADMK and the DMK. When this happens, the margins narrow down,” Dravidian historian S. Thirunavukarasu says. Straight fights, he adds, tend to be close-fought affairs.

“This time, the difference in consolidated vote is merely 1.1 per cent between the two Dravidian parties and that is indicative of how close the contest was,” Mr. Thirunavukarasu says.

In fact, in Radhapuram and Kattumanarkoil, the AIADMK won by the skin of its teeth with victory margins of 49 and 87 votes, respectively, the lowest ever.

In Radhapuram, long-time DMK loyalist Appavu was defeated, and in Kattumanaarkoil, VCK leader Thol. Thirumaavalavan took a tumble.

A. Marx, writer and activist, has a fresh perspective. “The AIADMK contested alone, and two other opponents were in alliance agreements. It is not surprising then that the AIADMK won with a slender margin in as many constituencies.”

Tamil Nadu is no stranger to close contests, but it is probably for the first time that it has happened in so many constituencies, Mr. Marx adds.

High margins

On the other side of the spectrum, where victory margins ranged over 30,000 votes in 27 seats, the ruling AIADMK held an advantage in 16 seats and the DMK in nine, while the Congress took two seats with high margins. Again, no regional pattern emerges in these seats, which are spread across the length and breadth of Tamil Nadu.

While DMK chief M. Karunanidhi won by 68,366 votes, the biggest victory margin, S.P. Velumani of the AIADMK won by 64,041.

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, meanwhile, polled 39,545 more votes than Shimla Muthuchozhan of the DMK, who finished runner-up.

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2021 3:26:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/tamil-nadus-crunch-seats-where-margins-yoyoed/article8631147.ece

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