Tamil Nadu news outlet Spick Media Network has come out with interesting findings on voter opinions in the state in its ‘Fate of the Nation’ survey, released on June 10. The survey gauged voter’s opinions for both the Lok Sabha and state assembly polls.
Should state assembly elections be held in Tamil Nadu right away, the survey shows that the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam is facing a rout at the hands of rival Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, which would be placed at just short of a majority on its own. DMK’s alliance partner Congress would double its seats from 8 to 16. The gains for DMK, the main Opposition party in the state legislature, as per the survey are not surprising, given the largely bipolar character of the Tamil Nadu assembly for the past few decades. It is also not surprising that the popularity of AIADMK, after two consecutive terms and having lost its mass leader late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa in December 2016, should be on the wane.
What is surprising is that TTV Dinakaran’s Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) has also cut massively into AIADMK’s base, pushing AIADMK into third position in the state, as per the survey. Both AMMK and AIADMK claim to be inheritors of the legacy of Jayalalithaa. Dinakaran is the nephew of VK Sasikala, the closest aide of the late leader. Sasikala is presently jailed in Karnataka in a corruption case. Dinakaran’s emphatic victory in the RK Nagar bypoll held to fill the vacancy caused by sitting MLA J Jayalalithaa, was taken as a pointer to the electorate in Jayalalithaa’s home seat accepting the AMMK to be the owner of her political legacy. Yesterday’s survey findings suggest this is a state-wide perception.
Also hurting the AIADMK is the perceived closeness of its top two leaders, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and Deputy CM O Panneerselvam, to the Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party, whose popularity is at an all-time low in the state. In the RR Nagar bypoll, the BJP candidate polled less than the ‘none-of-the-above’ option. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, BJP’s Pon Radhakrishnan won from Kanyakumari, the solitary Lok Sabha seat the party bagged in Tamil Nadu. According to the survey Radhakrishnan, presently Union Minister of State for Finance and Shipping, is unlikely to win re-election. The survey gives BJP zero seats in both the Lok Sabha and the Tamil Nadu assembly.
The survey also reduced the AIADMK to just 7 seats from the 37/39 it represents in the 16th Lok Sabha. It shows that AMMK would make a Lok Sabha debut, with 6 seats. But the lion’s share of Lok Sabha seats will be won by the DMK—24/39.
The Spick Media Network survey was conducted between May 5 and June 6, 2018. On May 22, the state government was flayed over the death of 13 persons in firing by state police during protests demanding closure of a Sterlite plant in Thoothukudi. Spick says its survey was conducted by 401 trained field investigators at 349 locations with a target of 3,000 respondents in each of Tamil Nadu’s 234 elected assembly constituencies.
If Tamil Nadu State Assembly elections are held now:
If Lok Sabha polls are held this week:
Previously, Spick Media Network has conducted opinion polls and exit polls for the Gujarat and Karnataka assembly elections. In Gujarat, a Spick Media opinion poll gave BJP 85, Congress 76 and others 13 seats, with 8 ‘undecided’. In the election results, BJP won 99, Congress 78 and others four.
In an exit poll for the recent Karnataka assembly elections, Spick Media Network gave Congress 101 seats, BJP 89 seats, Janata Dal (Secular) 26 seats and others four. In the election results, BJP won 104, Congress 78, JD(S) 36 and others four.
*Corrigendum: The Tamil Nadu state assembly elections were held in 2016, and not 2017 as written in the lead graphic