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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2790

All eyes on Tamil Nadu; will it be a kingmaker again?

By Gopal Ethiraj from Chennai

Chennai, 15 May, ( All the political majors at New Delhi—Congress (UPA), BJP (NDA), the Third Front—are waiting for the outcome of Tamil Nadu-Puducherry results, as also the two arch rivals in Chennai—Chief Minister M.Karunanidhi and AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa who are hoping to play key roles in central politics. The 40 seats of the state used to swing one side always, and hence the mantle of kingmaker falls on it.

With the counting for the verdict just a day away, people are working on permutation and combinations. Even before the parties could decide, people separate and link parties for a possible government formation at the centre. If coalition government is inevitable, the emergence of "pre-poll alliance" and the same breaking up to form "post-poll alliance" also seems order of the day. (Just a sample: Telangana Rashtriya Samithi (TRS) in Andhra Pradesh contested with TDP (Third Front alliance), and even before the results could come out, it shifted to NDA)

In Tamil Nadu, although a sweep situation for either DMK-led alliance or AIADMK front may not be happening this time, both groups may be having a vital role to play at the centre, according to political pundits.

The BJP-led NDA which had tied up with smaller parties in the state is also waiting for the poll outcome. A couple of seats if it could garner in Tamil Nadu would add to its tally for a claim at government formation..

Even though Karunanidhi reaffirmed his loyalty to the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA), saying he would continue to support Congress even after elections, his daughter and Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi struck a practical note. “The DMK has seen a lot of ups and down. We will be able to hold the party together and do well. We are not worried,” she said.

Jayalalithaa prefers to keep silent until the results are out. “We will wait for the results on May 16; then I will consult with my allies and take a decision,” she said on Wednesday.

After coalition government became the trend at the Centre, since 1998 either DMK-led alliance or AIADMK-led alliance had been playing a crucial role in government formation at the Centre. In the last 2004 Lok Sabha polls, there was a dramatic verdict: all the 40 seats were garnered by the DMK-Congress combine, and DMK was a kingmaker.

Tamil Nadu polled a whopping 72.46 per cent, the highest in 25 years, in yesterday's polling held for the 39 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state, according to final figures of voting released by the Election Commission (EC) here today.

Karur, which witnessed keen contest between A C Palanisamy of DMK and M Thambidurai (AIADMK) topped the list with 80.95 per cent of polling.

It was only in 1984 that the state recorded 72.98 polling percentage. Central Chennai, from where former Union Minister Dayanidhi Maran is contesting on DMK ticket, recorded the lowest turnout of 61.13 per cent.

The other two constituencies in the state capital -- North and South Chennai -- recorded 63.50 and 63 per cent of polling respectively. Madurai, where DMK president and Chief Minister M Karunanidhi's son M K Azhagiri is making his electoral debut, polled 77.53 per cent of votes, while Nilgiris and Sriperumbudur, the two seats from where Union Ministers A Raja and T R Baalu are testing their mettle, recorded the voting percentage of 70.70 and 68.40 respectively.

Sivaganga from where Union Home Minister P Chidambaram is contesting registered 71.21 per cent polling.

An estimated 79 per cent of the 7.62 lakh electorate exercised their franchise to elect a lone representative from Puducherry.

- Asian Tribune -

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