Elections

High voter turnout for TN by-polls raises spectre of anti-incumbency

TE Raja Simhan Chennai | Updated on April 18, 2019 Published on April 18, 2019

Though the average turnout for the crucial by-elections for the 18 Tamil Nadu Assembly seats was 71.62 per cent (lower than the overall 74.84 per cent recorded in 2016 elections), high turnout in 11 constituencies (75-80 per cent) does raise question of anti-incumbency that could make things difficult for Chief Minister Edapaddi K Palaniswami and his government. AIADMK, which has a wafer thin majority in the State assembly, need to win most of the seats in the by-poll to remain in power.

Harur (87 per cent), Nilakkottai (86 per cent), Pappireddipatti (83.31 per cent), Gudiyattam (82 per cent) and Thiruporur (81.05 per cent) saw high voter turnout. High turnout is typically associated with anger against the incumbent government.

Senior members of AIADMK are confident of winning most of the seats and retaining power.

Currently, in the 234-member Assembly, there is a vacancy for 22 seats of which 18 was due to disqualification by the Speaker of rebel lawmakers who joined the ousted AIADMK leader TTV Dhinakaran. The ruling party will need to win at least 10 seats to remain comfortably in power. The DMK with 97 seats hopes to gain a majority by sweeping the by-polls and topple the ruling government.

By-elections for the 18 seats were held on Thursday with the 38 Lok Sabha seats.

The Assembly constituencies that went to polls today are: Ambur, Andipatti, Gudiyatham (SC), Harur (SC), Hosur, Manamadurai (SC), Poonamallee (SC), Pappireddipatti, Paramakudi (SC), Periyakulam (SC), Perambur, Nilakkottai (SC), Sholingur, Sattur, Thiruporur, Thiruvarur, Thanjavur, and Vilathikulam.

The by-polls for other four constituencies — Aravakurichi, Sulur, Thirupparankundram and Ottapidaram —will be held on May 19.

Published on April 18, 2019
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