April 18, 2019
Low voter turnout, around 70 percent (likely to revised upwards by EC later), will help the AIADMK alliance felt a Delhi-based analyst, but qualified to add that the strong sentiments against the BJP cannot be discounted.
One issue that could harm the AIADMK and its allies is the raid raj unleashed against the opposition leaders. IT raids against DMK leader Kanimozhi on the eve of polling that discovered nothing from her residence as also plethora of raids on DMK, Congress leaders in TN, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh has not been liked by many voters and they strengthened the public perception that the central agencies were acting in a partisan manner.
The lower voter turnout was interpreted by BJP leaders as saying that there is no anti-Modi wave in Tamil Nadu.
But political analysts in Tamil Nadu say that whatever be the turnout of voters, anyone with connection with the BJP is tainted as will face a tough time. Sentiment in Tamil Nadu is against the BJP for its stance on a host of issues like NEET, farmers distress in Cauvery Belt, or Cauvery or Hindi and any party that associates itself with the BJP will be disadvantaged.
AIADMK government is also seen as one that capitulated to the central government as also Modi and BJP was seen as driving the government. But, the BJP managed to stitch up a rainbow coalition that looks strong on paper if we go by previous vote percentages.
But on the ground, situation today is very different as Jayalalithaa is no longer there. The split in AIADMK does not augur well for the AIADMK that rules the state. The breakaway AIADMK led by TTV Dhinakaran is the X factor that can inflict a humiliating defeat to AIADMK, though it may not win seats itself.
The other X-factor Kamal Haasan, who entered the fray this time, will be a dud. He is not expected to win any seats either in assembly bye-elections or in parliament constituencies.
The clear-cut leader in the state at present is DMK and along with it Congress, as its vote base is intact, and the voter turnout augurs well for Stalin as this election is more of a litmus test for his leadership capabilities. Can he lead the DMK to victory is the question.
More important for the AIADMK and the DMK are the bye-elections to 22 assembly seats, the outcome of which can pose a threat to the continuity of the state government led by E Palaniswamy. The AIADMK must win at least 5 to 7 seats in the assembly to be safe. Anything less than that the government will be under a threat of being dislodged.