PM Narendra Modi with Tamil Nadu chief minister EK Palaniswami, deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam during an election rally in March this year. (Credit: ANI)
Voting for the 234-seat Tamil Nadu assembly was held on April 6 in a single phase and the results will be declared on May 2. Like the previous elections, the contest this time too is largely between AIADMK and DMK.
Unlike the earlier elections, however, in the 2021 assembly elections there is no Karunanidhi or Jayalalitha, the two heavyweights of Tamil Nadu politics.
2021 assembly election: Voter turnout
Like in 2016, the constituencies of 11 ministers saw a turnout of 80% or more this time too. The polling was higher this time in the seats of C Vijayabaskar, KC Karupannan, M R Vijayabaskar and R Kamaraj while it dropped marginally in the seats of chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, K P Anbalagan, K A Sengottaiyan, V Saroja, KC Veeramani, O S Manian and Sevvoor S Ramachandran (to just below 80%).
Conventional wisdom is that a high turnout heralds a vote for change. But that need not apply in this case, as there is hardly any change from last time. Several ministers also said they had nurtured their constituencies and there was no evidence of any anti-incumbency.
2021 assembly election: Opinion poll
Ahead of the voting, the Times Now-CVoter opinion poll predicted the DMK-Congress alliance led by Stalin will return to power with 177 seats, with the ruling AIADMK-BJP alliance reduced to just 49 seats.
The opinion poll also projected three seats apiece for the debutant Kamal Haasan-led MNM and TTV Dhinakaran’s AMMK.
2016 assembly election: Result
In the 2016 elections, the AIADMK won 136 out of 234 seats in the assembly. DMK won 89 seats while Congress bagged 8 seats.
2016 assembly election: Exit Polls
The exit polls in 2016 predicted a story that proved to be very different from the results. Chanankya exit poll gave DMK a whopping 140 seats, NDTV’s exit poll also gave DMK more than half of the seats. ABP Exit poll projected DMK winning 132 seats and gave Jayalalitha’s AIADMK 95 seats.
India Today-Axis gave AIADMK 99 seats and projected DMK getting 132 seats. The closest that any exit poll came to predicting the actual results was the CVoter exit poll.
It gave AIADMK 139 seats, 3 more than the actual result. It gave DMK 78 seats in the assembly. Spick News exit poll also correctly projected the winner in 2016. It gave AIADMK 142 seats while for DMK, the number was 87.
All exit polls gave BJP either 0 or 1 seat in the 2016 assembly, which proved to be right as the party could not open its account in the southern state.
Some exit polls projected the People’s Welfare Front(PWF)- an alliance of CPI and CPI(M), Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) and Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK)- to play the role of kingmaker in the state.
CVoter gave PWF 15 seats while News Nation exit poll projected the alliance snapping 14 seats. In the end, the alliance failed to even win a single seat in Tamil Nadu.