Seeman to Kamal: Small ‘warlords’ who badly dented Dravidian behemoths

A low down on the performances of Kamal Hassan’s MNM, Dhinakaran’s AMMK and Seeman’s NTK

Kamal Hassan's MNM fought the polls with actor Sarath Kumar’s All India Samathuva Makkal Katchi and Indhiya Jananayaga Katchi. MNM fielded candidates in 154 of the total 232 seats.

None of the smaller parties in Tamil Nadu, outside the DMK or AIADMK camps, managed to win a single seat in the assembly polls this time. However, they did spoil the game for the two Dravidian behemoths in several seats.

TTV Dhinakaran’s Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) and Kamal Haasan’s Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) were launched this time with much fanfare, but their founding leaders too lost their respective contests. AMMK got a vote share of 2.35 per cent while MNM did slightly better with 2.52 per cent votes. Despite their losses, the two parties did well enough to change results at several constituencies.

The election data shows that AMMK affected AIADMK’s chances of winning in at least 20 seats.

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DMK won the Neyveli seat by a narrow margin of 977 votes with AMMK getting 2,230 votes. In Katpadi, where the DMK won with a margin of 746 votes, the AMMK got 1,066 votes. Dhinakaran, who was earlier with the AIADMK, is believed to have spoiled his former party’s chances here.

Also read: Decoding TN’s coalition politics: Why Dravidian behemoths bank on smaller parties

Captain Vijayakanth’s DMDK, which was in alliance with AMMK this time, – played spoilers in Virudhachalam, though the party’s vote share has almost come to zero (0.43%) this time. The seat was claimed by Congress, which won by a margin of 862 votes whereas DMDK got 25,908 votes.

In the Mayiladuthurai constituency, Congress party won by a margin of 2,742 votes. Here, AMMK bagged 7,282 votes.

Mannargudi, which is the home turf of Dhinakaran’s aunt Sasikala, went to DMK, which won by a margin of 37,392 votes. Here, the AMMK got 40,481 votes while the AIADMK got 49,779 votes. AMMK played a similar role in Thiruporur, Sankarankovil, Sattur constituencies, denying victory to AIADMK’s candidates.

Tamil nationalist leader Senthamizhan Seeman’s Naam Tamilar Katchi (NTK) did more damage to AIADMK than the DMK. NTK has grown as the third-largest party in the state with over 6.5 per cent vote share, up from 1 per cent in the 2016 assembly elections and 4 per cent in the 2019 parliamentary elections. It spoiled the chances of both DMK and AIADMK at several places.

Seeman contested from Thiruvottiyur, where NTK polled 48,597 votes and came third, thus spoiling the party for AIADMK candidate Kuppan, who got 50,524 votes.

Top AIADMK leader Thamarai S Rajendran failed to save his Ariyalur seat by a margin of 3,234 votes. The NTK candidate here secured 12, 346.

Also read: Tamil nationalist gains ground in polls, but is the surge sustainable?

NTK did not affect only the Dravidian parties, but also the BJP. H Raja, who was the BJP candidate from Karaikudi, lost to Congress’ Mangudi by a margin of 21, 589 votes. Here, the NTK got 23,872 votes this time as compared to 5,344 votes in 2016. AMMK also did well here, polling 44,864 votes.

While the DMK has accused Kamal Haasan of being a BJP man, his party, Makkal Needhi Maiam, ate into DMK’s votes instead of AIADMK at several places.

Drop in vote share of DMK and AIADMK

The AIADMK alliance got little over 39 per cent votes this time, against 40.88 per cent votes it got in 2016.

The DMK has won, but its vote share has declined as compared to 2019 Lok Sabha polls. In 2019, the Stalin-led party won 38 out of the 39 seats, with a vote share of 52 per cent. This came it has fallen to 45 per cent.

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