The huge victory for the DMK and its allies in south Tamil Nadu appears to have put an end to the perception that the region is traditionally AIADMK’s fort.
For the DMK, winning nine out of 10 Lok Sabha seats in the region has come as a morale-booster at the right time. The DMK and its allies, the Congress, the CPI (M) and the Indian Union Muslim League, have won in Kanniyakumari, Thoothukudi, Tirunelveli, Tenkasi, Virudhunagar, Ramanathapuram, Sivaganga, Madurai and Dindigul, with comfortable margins. In Theni, where the AIADMK candidate is ahead, the lead did not cross the 35,000-mark even after 10 rounds.
Although the DMK has more than one reason to celebrate in southern districts, the AIADMK too had its own reason, winning the lone Theni seat in the State. This was primarily the cadre celebrating joyously as the rival Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam drawing a blank. Against very high pre poll expectations, the AMMK’s best performance in the region was a poor third for its propaganda secretary Thanga Tamilselvan in Theni.
Admitting that the AIADMK had expected at least four seats out of 10 from southern districts, a Minister said it was definitely a matter of comfort that the door had been shown to the AMMK, and that they had retained the lead in five of the nine Assembly seats that went in for bypolls.
DMK’s former Minister I. Periasamy from Dindigul said the AIADMK’s victory in Theni was “mysterious.” With the help of a large posse of police and some key officials, the AIADMK had “managed” the win, he alleged.
Senior journalist and writer B. Thirumalai said that the election results had shown that the southern districts were no more a favourite of the AIADMK alone. The region had once returned party founder MGR and Jayalalithaa to the Assembly as Chief Minister.
A professor from Gandhigram Rural Institute said that the anti-BJP wave had benefited the DMK-Congress combine. Moreover, issues such as the Thoothukudi firing and the Centre’s approach in helping cyclone victims had put an end to the claims of the AIADMK that south was its fort. The party might have performed well in Nagercoil, Ramanathapuram, Thoothukudi and Tenkasi had it not aligned with BJP, he argued.
For now, it is celebration time for the DMK and its allies in southern districts.