Thursday, January 15, 2009

Thirumangalam bye-election

DMK has won the bye-election 2009 in Thirumangalam. In 2006, AIADMK/MDMK coalition had won this seat on a narrow margin of less than 5,000 votes. This time, DMK has won with a massive margin of 39,266 votes.

In 2006, MDMK polled 45,067 votes, whereas in 2009, AIADMK got, only 40,156 votes.

There are two main sources of additional votes for DMK. The total number of (valid) votes polled has increased by around 18,000. The 'others', including DMDK have lost around 15,000 votes compared to the 2006 election. AIADMK coalition has lost around 5000 votes.

All these votes have gone to DMK, totally around 38,000+ - which is the victory margin of DMK.

I can only attribute DMK's money power and threats that have forced the voters to turn up en masse and vote for DMK.

One can understand people being bribed to vote, and they may genuinely feel that they should vote for DMK as they have received Rs. 5,000 + other freebies. To a lot of people, that is a lot of money.

How can we rationalise the 'threat' element? Voting is anonymous. Still, several uneducated voters of Thirumangalam might have felt that DMK somehow has the power to identify who has voted for who. This, coupled with the known rowdy actions of M.K.Azhagiri, son of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Karunanidhi would have frightened several voters.

Over the last three years, DMK has lot the support of three important allies. The two communist parties have moved out of the coalition and have joined with Jayalalitha's AIADMK. PMK has stayed away from both the parties. VCK has moved from AIADMK camp to DMK camp. However, in Thirumangalam, VCK and PMK would have contributed very little. The two communist parties, would have accounted for around 5,000 votes, if at all.

That would mean, the swing achieved by DMK is even more, to compensate the loss of around 5,000 votes going to the opposite camp.

Yet, this election cannot be seen as a trend in any sense, for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

DMK cannot spend this sort of money in every constituency. Its 'top management' cannot focus on all the constituencies with campaigning.

However, three months is a long time in Tamil Nadu and the kind of coalition that is put together will determine the outcome. Unlike the last election, my guess is that, this time, the parliamentary seats will be shared roughly 50%-50% between DMK and AIADMK groups.

PMK is most likely to join the AIADMK group. BJP may not get anything as it is unlikely to be part of either AIADMK or DMK groups. DMDK may also draw a blank. It is possible that BJP and DMDK may come together to fight the elections, in which case, they will end of as number three everywhere.

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