It was a well-fought battle, defying predictions of a “clean sweep,” springing quite a few surprises in the process.
MK Stalin, who has been waiting in the sidelines for the last several years, is all set to be sworn-in as the eighth chief minister of the state.
At 68, he would be the oldest first-time CM of Tamil Nadu. This is the first time in 25 years that the DMK has secured a majority on its own.
For AIADMK, the defeat was not as bad as predicted, with the party winning in enough seats to be the strongest AIADMK Opposition in the history of the State Assembly, indicating that the anti-incumbency factor was not as intense as expected.
The biggest takeaway, however is that Tamil Nadu has, once again, decisively, shut the doors on the so-called “Third Front”.
Self-proclaimed centrist Kamal Haasan’s Makkal Needhi Maiam scored a duck, with the actor himself narrowly losing the race. Instead, Seeman’s Naam Tamizhar Katchi, often overlooked, took the third place.
The BJP put up a poor show compared to its national rival Congress, which won 16 out of the 25 seats in which it contested. The Congress was also in line to win the bypoll to the Kanniyakumari Lok Sabha seat.
On the other hand, the saffron party only won four of the 20 Assembly seats from which it fought. Still, its MLAs will be entering the State Assembly for the first time in two decades.
“This is a vote for change,” said veteran journalist G Kubendran.
“Caste politics has been voted out, as sitting ministers including MC Sampath, CVe Shanmugam and KC Veeramani have lost despite the last-minute internal quota given to Vanniyars.”
Sitting CM Edappadi K Palaniswami, however, managed to retain his Kongu belt fort. The same pro-AIADMK sentiment did not resonate in Southern districts, considered to be a bastion of deputy CM O Panneerselvam. Similarly, the capital city of Chennai and its surrounding districts gave a resounding mandate to DMK.
“The election victory is the result of the hardwork put in by Stalin,” said another scribe, T Koodalarasan. This election will go down in history for one more reason: it marks the first electoral victory – a thumping one at that – for Stalin’s son Udhayanidhi, speculated to be the party’s heir apparent.