DMK chief MK Stalin has finally emerged from his father M Karunanidhi's shadow.
The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK)-led Secular Progressive Alliance (SPA) has swept to power in Tamil Nadu after a decade, overcoming a spirited challenge from the ruling AlI India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK)-led NDA combine.
The DMK won 133 seats in the 234-member assembly, the Election Commission's website showed on May 3. The DMK has on its own gone past the simple majority mark of 118 seats. The counting of votes began on May 2.
DMK chief MK Stalin, who won from Kolathur in Chennai, is expected to be the next chief minister, almost eight years after his late father and party patriarch M Karunanidhi named him the heir apparent.
The AIADMK won 66 seats and the alliance partner BJP got four seats, finally making a breakthrough in Tamil Nadu, often referred to as the “final frontier” for the party. The party failed to open its account in the 2016 assembly polls as well as the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Tamil Nadu joined the neighbouring union territory of Puducherry to vote in the opposition, while West Bengal, Assam and Kerala gave the ruling parties a resounding mandate for another five years in the latest round of assembly elections.
As trends put the DMK ahead, Stalin had called for restraint in celebrations amid a spike in coronavirus cases in the state, the first big test that awaits the new government.
"While victory is definite, there is no need to celebrate. Be mindful of pandemic. The DMK has started a new chapter in history. We should protect ourselves and the state," Stalin said after some party workers came out on the streets of Chennai to celebrate. His son and party's youth wing secretary Udhayanidhi Stalin won from the Chepauk-Triplicane.
Anti-incumbency did catch up with the AIADMK but the performance was better than the DMK sweep predicted by most exit polls.
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Outgoing chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami won comfortably from his home ground of Edappadi in Salem district, while his deputy O Panneerselvam defeated DMK's Thanga Tamilselvan, a former party colleague from Bodinayakkanur in a tight contest.
This is the first time that both the parties went into the polls without stalwarts M Karunanidhi and AIADMK's J Jayalalithaa who dominated the state politics for decades.
Veteran movie actor and Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) founder Kamal Haasan had a forgettable electoral debut. Haasan lost to BJP's Vanathi Srinivasan by 1,500 votes in Coimbatore (South) constituency after early trends put him ahead of his rival. His party couldn't win a single seat.
An alliance led by TTV Dhinakaran's Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK), too, drew a blank. Dhinakaran had launched AMMK after he was expelled from AIADMK for anti-party activities.
Defence Minister and senior BJP leader Rajnath Singh congratulated Stalin on DMK’s win as did Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
Tamil Nadu saw a 72.81 percent turnout in the single-phase elections on April 6.Moneycontrol’s full coverage of the 2021 Assembly elections.