Unlike other states, victory in Tamil Nadu depends upon smaller allies. In 2016, when Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK was refraining from forming a large alliance. Rather, their alliance was with smaller parties (spoilers to DMK in 2016) agreed to contest in one or two seats.
As a result, AIADMK became the valiant force. Even though, their victory margin was less, they did manage to retain power.
Such is the power of smaller parties. They not only give edge for its major ally in one seat, but an entire region. For example, with Karunas contesting from Tiruvadanai, AIADMK could achieve marginal victories in nearby seats too.
The current elections seemed confusing for the pollsters. Some even called a few constituencies as close to call. It was confusing due to spoilers. Yes, Kamal Hassan’s Makkal Needhi Maiyam and Seeman’s Naam Tamizhar Katchi were the major spoilers. Also, we shouldn’t forget the master of all spoilers TTV Dinakaran’s AMMK.
Here are some examples of their spoiler roles
AMMK & TTV Dinakaran
Sasikala’s political entry was the most speculated event. Rather she announced her retirement from active politics. Post that, TTV Dinakaran had to contest on his own by allying with Owaisi, SDPI and DMDK. Together, their role was pretty insignificant.
But in certain pockets, they played a major spoiler role. Karaikudi is the best example to quote. H Raja is a candidate who is known for all the wrong reasons. But he being a native of Karaikudi, a large group of people do prefer voting for him.
In the previous elections, he lost to Chidambaram and his son simultaneously (contesting for both assembly and parliament). But this time, his chances were high as neither of them stood. But the devil came in the form of AMMK and its candidate – Pandi who garnered a whopping 44,864 votes.
H Raja still stood at the second place with 54,000 votes. Whereas Mangudi, an Congress candidate who had nothing but P Chidambaram’s support won with 75,000 votes.
Naam Tamizhar Katchi by Seeman
Seeman contested in 2011 as well as 2016, but his presence was widely felt this time. He fielded women candidates in several constituencies. And he did campaign with full force. Even though, his party did not get any seats, they are now a force to reckon with. Yes, NTK garnered nearly 7 percent of the total votes in this election.
But that 7 percent reflected on AIADMK’s victory. In Ramanathapuram district alone, they had split anti-DMK vote bank and made way for DMK’s win. Paramakudi is one constituency which favoured AIADMK in 2011 as well as 2016. But, NTK candidate’s 16,000 votes shunned the chances of the AIADMK candidate.
Also, BJP had a brighter chance of winning from Ramanathapuram constituency if they had worked well. Unlikely, AIADMK lost to DMK and Congress in the remaining three in a margin of less than 20,000 votes.
Also, in Chennai, AIADMK lost several constituencies because of NTK. But, it was not NTK alone. Kamal Hassan had a bigger role to play.
Makkal Needhi Maiyam by Kamal Hassan
The moment when Kamal Hassan announced he is going to contest from Coimbatore South, it was pretty evident whose vote bank he is splitting. But, his efforts were in vain as Vanathi Srinivasan surprised everyone with a victory margin of 1000 votes.
But his candidates in Mylapore, Tambaram and Sholinganallur did their job well as spoilers. R Natraj was AIADMK’s star candidate and Mylapore is always a cake walk for AIADMK. When he loses then something is wrong.
While the former DGP could garner 55,759 votes, the DMK candidate Mylai Velu stood with 68,392. Therefore, it was just a margin of 12,633 votes. And where did that go? We get an answer to this question when we see the person in the third place. Yes, Sripriya, the MNM candidate garnered 14,904 votes and finished third.
While so far we saw enough on Tamil Nadu, in the upcoming features, let us take a look at Kerala, West Bengal, Assam and Puducherry too. Keep watching this space for more.