Despite losing the elections, the AIADMK led by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami defied several pre-poll and exit poll surveys, which had hinted at a severe drubbing for the party suffering from internal feuds in the absence of the charismatic Jayalalithaa, and garnered a decent vote share of around 33 per cent (until reports last came in) which is just four per cent lesser than the DMK.
The AIADMK alliance has either won or is leading in at least 76 constituencies with the party registering success on its own in 68 constituencies of the 173 constituencies it contested in after being in power for 10 years.
“This is the first full-fledged Assembly election the party faced without the AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa. The party vote share had shrunk to below 20 per cent in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls but now we have regained our traditional vote share. This shows that the AIADMK will continue to remain a major force despite losing Jayalalithaa and will play the role of an effective opposition,” said an AIADMK leader, pleased with his party’s performance.
The AIADMK had secured 40.77 percent vote share in the previous Assembly polls which has now dipped by just seven per cent. The western region continues to be a stronghold for the AIADMK with most party MLAs and ministers in Coimbatore, Namakkal, Tiruppur and Pollachi retaining their sitting seats. However, performance was dismal in Chennai, with the party losing all 16 Assembly seats and all seats in Tiruvallur. It also performed poorly in the delta region, where four ministers were in the fray.
“In the absence of Amma Jayalalithaa, our party led by CM EPS and AIADMK coordinator OPS gave a tough fight to the DMK. EPS tried his best and evolved as a leader who can steer us through tough times,” AIADMK spokesperson V Pughazenthi said.
“The words of late AIADMK leader J Jayalalithaa that the party would remain strong for decades after her demise came true on Sunday,” political commentator R Mani observed.
However, the next question that has arisen among the AIADMK workers is who will be the Leader of Opposition in the Assembly and the names of both EPS and OPS are doing the rounds.