After a closely fought contest, MK Stalin’s Dravida Munnetra Kazahgam (DMK) defeated the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) in the Vellore Lok Sabha by-election. DMK candidate Kathir Anand, son of senior leader Durai Murugan, won by a margin of 8,141 votes against the AIADMK’s AC Shanmugam. While the AIADMK initially led, its opponent took the lead after five rounds.
It is largely believed that DMKs victory was due to its anti-BJP campaign in this constituency which has a large Muslim population. The AIADMN supported the Modi government in the issue of Triple Talaq and hence, it lost ground with the local Muslim population. AIADMK though mostly maintained its vote share. The DMK said its campaign against the BJP and the central government policies was behind the party’s sweep this time around.
Psephologist Pradeep Bhandari, the CEO of Jan Ki Baat posted an analysis regarding the Vellore By-polls and what it means not only for DMK but also AIADMK and the BJP.
Why #VelloreElectionResult is a setback for DMK despite winning? Which community voted for DMK, and AIDMK? Are the results a positive or negative for @BJP4India ? Watch #PradeepAnalysis @pradip103 on Vellore. What is the message for upcoming TN assembly results. @narendramodi pic.twitter.com/xExwotHKAh
— Jan Ki Baat (@jankibaat1) August 10, 2019
Pradeep Bhandari believes that this By-poll victory should be seen as a setback for DMK since the party just about won the polls with a thin margin of 8000 votes. The margin is considered extremely low for a Lok Sabha seat and earlier, DMK used to win this constituency by a margin of 50,000 to 60,000 votes, according to Bhandari.
DMK has won the Vellore constituency 5 times in the past and Congress has won in the constituency 3 times. While most media believes that it is because of the Muslim vote that DMK won, Bhandari thinks that the low margin means that there was a split in the Muslim vote and the vote did not shift entirely to DMK.
Bhandari says that while the Urdu speaking Muslim has voted for DMK thanks to its stand on Triple Talaq, the Tamil speaking Muslim might have drifted away from DMK because they thought DMK was not taking an overtly anti-BJP stand.
Bhandari says that what is a positive for AIADMK is that the anti-BJP sentiment that was in Tamil Nadu earlier is not as strong right now and the reason for it is also the abrogation of Article 370. He also says that because the BJP was not campaigning actively on the ground along with AIADMK, the party could also managee to bag some of the swing Muslim votes.