As of 8.30 pm on Sunday, the party was leading 17 of the 25 seats it contested. It was a remarkable turnaround compared to its 2016 and 2011 performances. Congress party had won only 8 and 5 seats of the 41 and 63 seats it had contested in the 2016 and 2011 elections, respectively. Though the party should owe its victory, at least in part, to alliance leader DMK led by MK Stalin, the party has shown commendable improvement in its strike rate, thanks to the whirlwind tour of its leader Rahul Gandhi to Southern and Central Tamil Nadu ahead of the Assembly polls. The victory was spread across the State with leads in northern Tamil Nadu and the lone Velachery in Chennai, apart from its so-called southern strongholds.
Congress spokesperson rightly attributed the victory to the enthusiasm created by Rahul’s tour when he said, “People of Tamil Nadu accepted Rahul wholeheartedly in 2019. Rahulji toured the State and increased the likeability of the Congress party further. Hence, the improved performance now!” Unsurprisingly, the Congress party had repeated its victory in 2019 even in Kanniyakumari Lok Sabha by-poll by stretching its victory margin by over one lakh votes.
The grand old party of the nation, however, did not do contribute to help the DMK enough in its backyards like Tirunelveli, Tenkasi or Thoothukudi where the AIADMK had surprised the secular alliance by winning a few seats and denying a complete sweep for Stalin and company in the south.