Behind Jayalalithaa’s dramatic triumph lies the rock-solid support of the voters of Western Tamil Nadu, especially the Kongu heartland for the AIADMK.
In a closely fought poll, it was this region, which has handed Jayalalithaa 45 out of 57 seats and helped her retain Fort St. George, Tamil Nadu’s seat of power. In 2006 and 2011 elections too, the ‘Kongu’ belt was the AIADMK’s bastion.
While South Tamil Nadu once considered AIADMK’s bastion failed to back Amma completely, the Kongu heartland remains the most impregnable fortress of the AIADMK. Though AIADMK Ministers lost in southern Tamil Nadu, in western region all the prominent AIADMK faces romped home.
“The AIADMK managed to retain power only because of the western Tamil Nadu voters, especially the Kongunadu,” exulted AIADMK men at the counting centre in Coimbatore.
In the Kongu region, the AIADMK notched up 27 out of 31 seats with impressive margins, as all the eight seats in Erode district, nine out of 10 seats in Coimbatore district, six out of eight constituencies in Tirupur and five of six seats in Namakkal district went Amma’s way.
In Coimbatore, the DMK managed to win only Singanallur, even as the Vanniyar heartland in Salem district handed down 10 of its 11 seats to AIADMK despite the Vanniyar party PMK’s high-decibel campaign in the district.
Significantly, the PMK’s Chief Ministerial candidate, Dr Anbumani Ramadoss was defeated in his own pocket borough of Pennagaram in Dharmapuri district, albeit to the DMK. In Dharmapuri district, three out of five seats went in favour of the AIADMK.
For the DMK, the sole solace came from the cool hills of Nilgiris as its alliance won two of the three seats. However, for the first time in its electoral history, the AIADMK managed to win the Coonoor seat.
The backward Krishnagiri gave the DMK and AIADMK three seats each. “Had the Kongu region backed the DMK, the election story of 2016 would have been different; we hope the AIADMK government will pay back to the region for our unshakeable loyalty,” says a leading industrialist in Coimbatore. Kongu region waits with hope for development.
Pon Radhakrishnan hails Jaya victory, says future is BJP’s
Despite the high profile electioneering as never witnessed before in Tamil Nadu poll scenario by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, party chief Amit Shah and a contingent of Union ministers, the BJP could not succeed in winning a single seat or even those it hoped.
Playing down the defeat in Assembly election, Union minister of state for road transport, highways and shipping Pon Radhakrishnan told DC that the poll results were not a setback for the party.
“Our cadres are enthused over our leaders: PM Modi and Amit Shah’s campaign. This is just the beginning… future is ours,” he said while attributing AIADMK’s handsome win entirely to its leader J. Jayalalithaa.
There was nothing to regret over his party’s defeat because the BJP in Tamil Nadu became strengthened and it was now confident of ensuring a bright future for itself, he said.
The elections, Mr. Radhakrishnan claimed had exposed the “deceptive alliance” led by Vaiko (MDMK chief) which was responsible for polarisation of votes.
“The BJP is never against development or anyone. We want something good to happen to the people of the state,” he added.