Elections

Campaigning comes to an end in Tamil Nadu

TE Raja Simhan Chennai | Updated on April 16, 2019 Published on April 16, 2019

DMK President MK Stalin campaigns at Tiruvarur on Tuesday   -  M_Moorthy

In the absence of any tall leader of the stature of J Jayalalithaa or M Karunanidhi, the low-key campaign in Tamil Nadu came to an end on Tuesday. As many as 6 crore voters will cast their votes on April 18 to elect 38 parliamentarians.

The State is witnessing a multi-cornered fight between two large alliances led by the AIADMK (with the BJP as a junior partner) and the DMK (with the Congress as a junior partner) with emerging political parties such as the AMMK formed by TTV Dhinakaran and the MNM of actor Kamal Haasan hoping to manage a sizeable vote share and, if possible, play spoilsport.

Small parties, big roles

With a strong chance of a coalition government at the Centre, the parties that win significant seats in the State may well play the role of king makers.

In the previous election, the ruling AIADMK under Jayalalithaa swept the Lok Sabha elections by winning 37 out of the 39, with the other two seats won by the BJP and PMK respectively. Interestingly, all these parties fought elections separately.

In the absence of Jayalalithaa, two low-profile leaders – Chief Minister Edappadki K Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O Paneerselvam – have emerged as torch-bearers for the party to take on their bete noire, the DMK.

On the other side, the DMK that drew a blank last time under the leadership of Karunanidhi is hoping for a major turnaround to give a boost to the party leader MK Stalin. A defeat could well raise questions on Stalin’s leadership capabilities. Dhinakaran’s dream of gaining the leadership of AIADMK will come to nought if his party performs badly. Kamal Haasan, for his part, will hope to establish his party as a serious player in the State by garnering a reasonable vote share.

Voter base

According to the Tamil Nadu Election Commission, The total electoral roll was 5.99 crore with 2.95 crore male voters, 3.02 crore female voters and 5,790 third gender and 66,112 service voters.

As per final roll on January 31, 2019, the total of 8.98 lakh new voters were added in the electoral roll. As on March 26, 2019, a total 12.12 lakh voters were aged between 18-19. There will be a total of 67,720 polling stations in 29,988 locations. In 2016, the voter turnout was 73.74 per cent in Tamil Nadu, the Commission said.

Assembly elections

Meanwhile, the ruling AIADMK will face a ‘survival’ test when by-polls are held for a total of 22 Assembly seats. The government, headed by Palaniswami, is ruling with a wafer-thin majority and a sweep by DMK will topple the government.

For the latest on elections, click: Elections 2019

Published on April 16, 2019
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