DMK’s Lok Sabha magic fails in by-polls

Chennai: The elections are done and dusted and the people of Tamilnadu have given their mandate, albeit a curious one. While the DMK had resounding victories in Lok Sabha polls capturing 37 out of 38 constituencies, the Assembly bypolls were a different matter where they managed only 13 out of 22.

Current scenario
The AIADMK government led by Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami is likely to stay in power, as the party has won in 9 out of the 22 Assembly seats in the by-elections. The DMK has won in 13 constituencies. Going by the results, the ruling party, which already had a strength of 114 AIADMK legislators (including the Speaker) going into the polls, now has a tally 123 legislators in the House. The strength of the House returns to 234 MLAs following the bypolls and the majority mark to stay in power, therefore, is 118, which the AIADMK have achieved.

Strongest opposition in TN history
Although DMK victory in 13 constituencies in the bypolls failed to take it past the majority mark to form the government, it has taken its tally to 101 MLAs in the Assembly house making it the single largest opposition party in the history of Tamilnadu politics. The win also broke the widely held perception that only the ruling party wins the bypolls.
In the Tamilnadu political arena left out with the absence of titans such as M Karunanidhi and J Jayalalithaa, Stalin has created a buzz for himself as the next big leader from the south.

Can DMK come to power?
Some in the DMK still see this twin victory in bypolls and Lok Sabha elections as a referendum on the Palaniswami-government and say it’s a reason enough to demand the resignation from the Ministers of the State government. Also, three AIADMK MLAs are opposed to the Chief Minister Palanisami’s government and three independents do not back it. In this scenario, the numbers for the AIADMK aren’t certain, and there is bound to be instability in the State. However, AIADMK leaders say the demand for referendum is ‘unconstitutional’. AIADMK Rajya Sabha MP Aavaneethakrishnan said, “This isn’t a referendum. We won nine seats in the bypolls. So, people have voted for us too.” The AIADMK, that partnered with the BJP for national elections, has managed to win just one Lok Sabha seat.

Stalin’s message
For DMK chief MK Stalin, this was the first major electoral challenge after he lost his father M Karunanidhi, the party patriarch and five-time Tamilnadu Chief Minister. He thanked the people of Tamilnadu for the ‘resounding victory’ Thursday.

A Harsha Vardhan