Sunrise over Citadel Chennai; all 3 LS seats go to DMK

Tamizhachi Thangapandian, Dayanidhi Maran and Kalanidhi Veerasamy emerge victorious

Quite like the rest of Tamil Nadu, capital city Chennai too wore black and red, the DMK colours, on Thursday, as results to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections started coming in.

The DMK easily won all three Lok Sabha constituencies — Chennai North, Central and South. It has also handsomely won the three other constituencies on the city’s fringes — Sriperumbudur, Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram; the last two, district headquarters.

The minute the ruling AIADMK decided not to contest in two of the city’s three constituencies — Central and North — and allocated them to its allies PMK and DMDK, both with little presence and cadre base in the city, it was viewed as a setback for the ruling coalition. The DMK fielded one of its heavyweights, former Union Minister Dayanidhi Maran, and a debutant Kalanidhi Veerasamy, son of former DMK Minister and strongman Arcot N. Veerasamy.

Outweighing PMK

The results seemed to be a foregone conclusion in the two constituencies, as the DMK candidates easily outweighed the PMK’s Sam Paul and the DMDK’s Mohanraj in terms of muscle and money power.

Moreover, the DMK candidates used their vast and elaborate party machinery to bring in the votes. In the end, Mr. Maran won by over three lakh votes and Mr. Veerasamy, by over four lakh votes.

Only the Chennai South Lok Sabha seat was watched closely, as observers thought it could go down to the wire. With the DMK fielding debutante and English professor Tamizhachi Thangapandian against AIADMK’s sitting MP Jayavardhan, son of Minister D. Jayakumar, the fight, it was believed, would be close. In the end, Ms. Tamizhachi, whose family has steadfastly been in the DMK camp, won by over two lakh votes, to be elected as an MP. With the BJP winning a second term under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the DMK will expect her to be one of the fiery voices that will raise issues related to Tamil Nadu’s rights in the Lok Sabha, forcefully and eloquently.

While the city was the bastion of the DMK for decades, the AIADMK, led by late Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, made deep inroads in the 2006 Assembly elections. In the aftermath of the 2015 floods, an anti-incumbency factor worked against the ruling AIADMK in the city in the 2016 Assembly elections. It lost 10 out of the 16 Assembly seats, despite Jayalalithaa’s leadership. The city has had no elected representatives for the past three years as the government is yet to hold local body polls and it could have played on the minds of the voters.

Anti-Modi wave

While DMK strongman T.R. Baalu was the favourite to win the Sriperumbur Lok Sabha constituency, which he did with a margin of over four lakh votes, the AIADMK Parliamentary party leader P. Venugopal was expected to defend the Tiruvallur Lok Sabha constituency strongly. But the anti-Modi wave that has swept Tamil Nadu has made voters of the constituency give the ruling party a shock by electing Congress candidate Namakkal K. Jayakumar, a rank outsider, by a margin of over three lakh votes.

In Kancheepuram, it was a sweet revenge for the DMK candidate Vedal G. Selvam. He won by a margin of 2.80 lakh votes and emerged victorious over AIADMK’s Maragatham Kumaravel who had defeated him in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

In the byelections, while DMK candidate L. Idhayavarman won in Tiruporur, party candidates R.D. Sekar and A. Krishnaswamy were leading in Perambur and Poonamallee respectively, both with decent margins. In essence, the DMK has managed to regain its citadel that was breached a decade ago.

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