TTV Dhinakaran is a maverick politician who continues to enthuse his supporters. In spite of being hemmed in from all sides, he manages to swing a sizeable portion of the electorate in his favour, something the ruling dispensation can only be wary of.
This is one for his political acumen – in the psephological history of Tamil Nadu, Dhinakaran became the first independent candidate to win a bypoll (from RK Nagar, in December 2017). This was the first time in 18 years that the ruling party in the state lost a by-election. To top it all, Dhinakaran secured a winning margin of 40,707 votes. Dhinakaran staunchly stuck to the claim that his was the ‘original AIADMK.’
Following the RK Nagar win, Dhinakaran founded the Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) as a breakaway faction of the AIADMK on March 15, 2018. Jayalalithaa’s one-time aide VK Sasikala was designated AMMK general secretary and Dhinakaran was the deputy general secretary. On March 28, 2019, the Election Commission of India allotted the gift box symbol for all AMMK candidates.
The by-elections to the 22 assembly constituencies in Tamil Nadu will be held in tandem with the Lok Sabha elections. The by-election is crucial to the ruling AIADMK as it needs to win at least five seats to retain power.
The by-election will take place in two phases. In the first phase, 18 assembly constituencies will go to polls on April 18. The remaining four, namely, Ottapidaram, Aravakurichi, Tiruparankundram, and Sulur, will go to polls on May 19.
The major parties are in a spot of bother as the perception is that Dhinakaran deftly popularises any symbol allotted to him.
The impact of the dent the AMMK would create in the AIADMK vote bank is to be seen. We at The Federal have tried to put together a Dent-o-Meter to find that out.
What is AMMK Dent-o-Meter?
The Dent-o-Meter allows a user to look at the possible impact of the AMMK on the AIADMK alliance seats in Tamil Nadu based on Dhinakaran’s ability to take away a certain percentage of votes. Since Dhinakaran has already proven the strength of his party in the RK Nagar by-elections, it is important to consider his impact on the AIADMK alliance vote share in the upcoming assembly elections too.
We have used the 2016 assembly results and calculated the vote share of the AIADMK and the DMK alliances in all the constituencies.
Assuming that the DMK alliance vote share is intact, the impact due to AMMK is calculated based on the percentage of votes that Dhinakaran may take away from the AIADMK alliance. Thus, as AMMK’s vote share increases, the AIADMK’s declines. The number of seats the AIADMK alliance retains is calculated based on the difference in the vote shares of the DMK and the AIADMK alliances. The party that has a lower vote share loses in a particular constituency, thereby, not retaining its seat in the Tamil Nadu Assembly.