His decision to project Congress President Rahul Gandhi for Prime Minister struck a chord with the voters who have sent 37 of the 38 Lok Sabha candidates of the Secular Progressive Alliance to the Parliament. The near-sweep in the parliamentary polls has ended the losing spree of the DMK, which has been suffering electoral rout since the infamous 2011 assembly poll (except 2016 when it had secured 88 seats) in which it had even lost the principal opposition party status to a relatively inexperienced Vijayakant’s DMDK. From not having a single representation in 2014, DMK has emerged as the third largest party of the country in the Lok Sabha with 23 seats.
However, like its rival AIADMK which had won 37 seats when Modi secured a majority on his own, the DMK’s 23-seat victory would reduce to just one in the 17th Lok Sabha.
Tamil Nadu has come as a saving grace for a humiliated Congress, which would have fallen below its previous tally of 44 seats but for the eight-seat victory from here. The party could find solace in its eight candidates trumping BJP and allies by substantial margins, something it suffered at the hands of the BJP in the rest of the country.
Like its ally DMK, the Congress would also be sending parliamentarians from the State after a five-year break. That a decimated CPI and CPI(M) would send two MPs each, highest in the country, to the Lok Sabha from the state has confirmed that Tamil Nadu was an oasis to the non-BJP front, which was left parched across the subcontinent. Even an obliterated MDMK has shared the spoils of the poll war, courtesy the ‘Rising Sun’ which would send Ganeshamoorthy from Erode to the lower house of the Parliament.
In the rival AIADMK camp, hopes of making a parliamentary debut were dashed once again for Vijayakant’s DMDK, which has bitten dust in all four seats it contested. The Rajya Sabha berth promised in the electoral pact was the only hope for PMK to enter the parliament any time soon, provided the AIADMK does not befool Ramadoss, as it did in 2009 (AIADMK denied the promised RS berth to PMK after it lost all 7 seats then). Ironically, a victorious BJP had to eat the humble pie in the Dravidian hinterland, where they have drawn a blank. One of the notable takeaways of the LS poll was the decent show demonstrated by fledgling Kamal Haasan’s Makkal Neethi Maiam and fringe Seeman’s Naam Tamizhar Katchi, which jointly secured over 10% in the parliamentary polls.