Chennai: Aligning with the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections when there was an anti-BJP wave in Tamil Nadu cost the ruling AIADMK very badly, a party leader said on Friday, adding that the party must do some soul searching.
"We need to list out the factors that contributed to our massive defeat in the Lok Sabha and Assembly by-elections and take corrective actions quickly," said K.C. Palanisamy, a former MP.
Aligning with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) amid anti-BJP sentiments in the state impacted AIADMK's electoral fortunes, he said.
"The 18.48 per cent votes AIADMK got in the Lok Sabha elections is that of the committed cadre. The votes of even our sympathisers and supporters seem to have gone to the DMK and others," Palanisamy told IANS. The AIADMK-led alliance lost in 37 of the 38 Lok Sabha seats where elections took place. The Election Commission cancelled polling in Vellore.
The AIADMK suffered a drastic slide in vote share this time. In 2014, the party on its own won 37 Lok Sabha seats with a vote share of 44 per cent. This plunged to 18.48 per cent now. The DMK secured 32.76 per cent of votes, its ally Congress 12.76 per cent, AIADMK ally PMK 5.42 per cent and another AIADMK ally BJP 3.66 per cent. The DMDK floated by actor A. Vijayakant (AIADMK ally) got 2.19 per cent votes while the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and Communist Party of India (CPI) secured 2.40 per cent and 2.43 per cent votes, respectively, as DMK allies. "AIADMK also lost 13 of the 21 Assembly seats in the by-elections," Palanisamy underlined. He said the party would in earlier times convene a meeting of its General Council to discuss electoral alliances.
"This time no such meeting was held to ascertain the views of the cadres."
Prior to the Lok Sabha polls, many in the AIADMK were of the view that the party should not have a tie-up with the BJP and support it post elections if needed. The BJP lost all the five Lok Sabha seats it contested, including that of Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan (Kanyakumari). According to Palanisamy, the factors that derailed the AIADMK were many, including the Modi government's indifferent attitude when the state was affected by cyclone Gaja and the Pollachi sex abuse and blackmail case. According to him, the elections have proved that T.T.V. Dhinakaran's AMMK was not a factor to affect the party.
The DMK-led alliance routed the AIADMK-led alliance by winning 37 of the 38 Lok Sabha seats. The Lok Sabha battle saw a four-cornered contest. The two major fronts were: the AIADMK-led front comprising the PMK, BJP, DMDK, TMC, PT, PNK and others and the DMK-led front consisting of the Congress, MDMK, IUML, CPI, CPI-M, VCK, KMDK and IJK.
The DMK on its own won all the 19 seats it contested.
However, the total number of Lok Sabha members under its fold will be 23 as MDMK, KMDK, IJK and one candidate of VCK contested under DMK's 'rising sun' symbol. The other parties in the DMK alliance which won were Congress (8), CPI-M and CPI (2 each) and IUML and VCK (1 each). This VCK candidate did not fight under the DMK election symbol. The sole winner for AIADMK was P. Raveendranath Kumar, son of Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam, from Theni. Kumar defeated former Tamil Nadu Congress chief E.V.K.S. Elangovan. --IANS