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Tamil Nadu Elections 2021: DMK wins; NTK becomes third largest party

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and its alliance parties have trounced the coalition of incumbent All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) to win the 2021 Tamil Nadu Assembly Elections with a majority of over 150 seats.

The DMK, along with its alliance, has registered victory or is leading in 158 constituencies out of a total 234, relegating AIADMK to 78 seats from its previous 136.  

Parties in coalition with DMK including the Indian National Congress (INC), Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi, the Communist duo and others together secured victories in over 30 seats. 

With an absolute majority in the legislative assembly, the DMK is set to form government 10 years after it was last in power. 

M.K Stalin, DMK President and Chief Ministerial candidate, formally thanked the voters on the win and requested party members to refrain from public celebrations due to a massive rise in COVID-19 cases in the country and a day-long curfew in place in the state. 

He will formally be sworn in to the office of Chief Minister on Friday, May 7. Meanwhile, DMK general secretary Durai Murugan has convoked a party MLA conference set to take place on May 4, in which the appointment of ministers to key posts and the cabinet will likely be decided. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted his congratulations to Stalin and said that they would work together “for enhancing national progress, fulfilling regional aspirations and defeating the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

Incumbent Chief Minister and AIADMK co-coordinator Edappadi K. Palaniswamy retained his seat in Edappadi constituency defeating DMK’s T. Sambathkumar, as did O. Panneerselvam, defeating DMK’s Thanga Tamilselva in the Bodinayakanur constituency.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) and others in the AIADMK coalition together secured less than 10 seats.  

One of the notable developments with this election where power usually swings between the two Dravidian parties, is the growing popularity of alternative parties. 

Most notably, the Tamil nationalist Naam Tamilar Katchi (NTK) has secured a large share of votes across the state after the DMK and AIADMK, coming third in an overwhelming majority of seats, although it failed to secure a win in any constituency.  

The party enjoys enormous popularity, particularly amongst the youth, boosting its votes close to 3 million from the 1.7 million it polled in the 2019 parliamentary elections.

The Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM), led by actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan also won a fair share of votes in urban centres such as Chennai, Coimbatore and Salem. But the party failed to enter the legislative assembly with Haasan losing in the Coimbatore South constituency by a whisker. 

The Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam, led by T.T.V. Dhinakaran, polled a significant number of votes in the Delta region and in certain southern districts, but has not registered victory in any constituency. 

The Legislative Assembly, therefore, will be dominated by the DMK government with ADMK and its allies being the sole opposition for the next five years. 

Neighbouring Union Territory of Puducherry saw the NR Congress-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) win 14 of 30 seats, paving the way for former Chief Minister N. Rangasamy to form a government again. 

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