Throughout the campaign trails in 2021 Tamil Nadu Elections, parties kept on saying BJP will draw a zero once again. But, the saffron party has come up with 4 seats this time. Even though, 4 is not a great number, BJP has proven everybody else wrong. Yes, this is more or less a moral victory for the party.
Interestingly, the saffron party gave a tough fight in all the 20 constituencies it contested. Chennai Harbour, Tittakudi and Udagamandalam are among the tough constituencies where the party gave jitters to its opponent.
Also, the efforts of Annamalai in Aravakkurichi and L Murugan in Dharapuram are notable too. Even in DMK strongholds such as Thousand Lights, Tirukkoyilur and Tiruvannamalai, BJP did a fair job. Eventually, their vote share rose significantly this time.
Therefore, we can say for the first time, a Hindu vote bank is gradually rising in Tamil Nadu.
Here are the BJP candidates who lost, but gave jitters to their opponents.
Vinoj P Selvam in Chennai Harbour
Chennai Harbour is a constituency which the late DMK chief M Karunanidhi had won twice. In 1991 especially, when DMK was routed and left with only two seats. At that time, Karunanidhi managed to win this seat with a slender margin of 890 seats. Anyhow, in the coming years, K Anbazhagan turned the tide and held the seat till 2011.
In the initial rounds, Vinoj P Selvam of BJP took a 50 percent lead over the DMK strongman Sekar Babu. Unlikely, after the final round results, Sekar Babu took a comfortable lead of 27,274 votes against Vinoj. Even though, the BJP candidate lost, he did give jitters to the DMK strongman.
D Periasamy in Tittakudi
Titttakudi emerged as a constituency after 2008 delimitations in Cuddalore district. Until then, it was under the Mangalore reserved assembly constituency (which does not exist anymore). Even though Cuddalore district is an AIADMK stronghold, DMK gives a tough fight too.
D Periasamy is a leader of a locally dominant community and that gives him the perfect edge. Even some pollsters predicted him to win. The initial rounds did give a positive picture and V Ganesan, the DMK candidate seemed worrisome.
Anyhow, at the end the DMK man won with over 80,000 votes whereas D Periasamy still gave a valiant fight. He could garner 62,163 votes.
Bojarajan in Udhagamandalam
When DMK was routed in 2011, Nilgiris was one district where it did well. In 2021, of the three seats in the district, Gudalur went to AIADMK. Udhagamandalam went to Congress and Coonoor went to DMK.
Udhagamandalam saw one of the closest fights in the elections. Most notably, this was among the few constituencies where BJP and Congress locked horns. After simultaneous leads in each rounds, Bojarajan lost the seat with a margin of 5348 votes.
Annamalai in Aravakkurichi
Annamalai IPS was the star candidate of BJP. His mass youth appeal in that region is the reason why he was pitted in a constituency where BJP’s winning fortunes are limited. Even in such a place, he gave jitters to his opponent M R Elango from DMK.
He openly challenged the Pallapatti Jamaat who initially restricted him from entering the town. Such measures did make way for hindu vote consolidation in this constituency. But in a place where Muslim votes are the deciding factor, Annamalai couldn’t resist the opponents victory.
L Murugan in Dharapuram
The silent killer is the word that suits L Murugan the most. While Khushbu Sundar and Annamalai got the utmost media attention, L Murugan was creating a big Hindu wave against his opponents.
Even though, he was managing the party affairs simultaneously he made good efforts in reaching out to people in his constituency. Yet, the final round gave an edge to the DMK candidate – Kayalvizhi Selvaraj who took the lead with just 1393 votes.
Pandurangan in Virudhunagar
Virudhunagar is one of the unexpected victories which BJP would have expected. Perhaps, it is the announcement on Devendra Kula Vellalar made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Also, the personal popularity of G Pandurangan in the constituency.
Even though, the runner-up conceded a defeat with a margin of 21,699 votes, he did garner a sizable vote share. A little more emphasis on campaigning could have turned the table around for BJP.
Well, these candidates did give a signal that BJP is gradually becoming a force to reckon with. By 2024 Lok Sabha Elections, the party might manage to garner a few seats too thereby making way for a wider Saffron wave.