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Can Jayalalithaa Win Tamil Nadu Again? Prannoy Roy

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CHENNAI: Based on past elections and current alliances, a party can win this month’s Tamil Nadu elections with a 36.5 per cent vote share. And a swing of 5.75 per cent votes could see M Karunanidhi’s DMK, along with partner Congress, wrest the state from J Jayalalithaa, her commanding victories in the last two major elections notwithstanding.

 

Ms Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK swept the 2011 assembly polls and the national election in 2014, but Tamil Nadu has never voted the same party back to power since 1984. Regional giants the AIADMK and DMK have alternately won assembly elections.

Also, parties that have won general elections in the state have traditionally seen a fall in vote share in the next assembly elections, a disquieting trend for the AIADMK, which had won 203 seats in 2011 and the equivalent of 217 assembly seats in the general elections two years ago.

What throws this year’s election even more open is that for the first time, there is a significant third front, the People’s Welfare Front, made up of smaller parties led by Captain Vijayakanth’s DMDK, and the PMK led by former union minister Anbumani Ramadoss which is contesting all 234 seats in Tamil Nadu.

 

This means that the IOU or Index of Opposition Unity has dropped sharply, and with votes getting split many ways a majority of 118 seats can be reached with only 36.5 per cent.

The ruling AIADMK with its minor allies has, as the state heads into elections on May 16, a vote share in the range of 38 per cent to 44 per cent – average 42 per cent – based on historical data and current alliances. That would mean a huge majority at 195 seats.

The DMK-Congress alliance has an average 31 per cent vote share, which would translate to only 46 seats. The third front has 14 per cent and two seats and others 13 per cent and nine seats.

But only a three per cent swing away from Jayalalithaa in favour of the DMK’s alliance will mean the latter jumping to 62 seats, a five per cent swing to 99 seats and a 5.75 per cent swing to 120 seats which would give it a majority, with the AIADMK getting 94 seats.

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