Analysis & Predictions for TN LS 2014 Polls
I am a firm believer that sampling vote shares at state level and then extrapolating it to wins for each party – does not work well in the “first past post” Indian system. This post is my attempt to gauge constituency wise mood to arrive at seat predictions for Tamilnadu in the upcoming LS polls 2014; where people get to cast their vote on 24th April 2014.
Several leading regional media houses have published constituency wise survey results. I am going to triangulate these sources, plus apply my own observation from several field reports to arrive at the predictions. Warning: Such triangulation by heuristics have systemic biases which can affect reliability of results; however this is the best one can do, when he/she doesn’t have access to the primary data to do a formal statistical Meta-Analysis of the results. The sources that I referred to are:-
- Kumudam surveyed a record 66,100 respondents from all 39 constituencies of Tamilnadu. The demographic breakup was 62% male – 38% female; which is having a larger male skew. Their demographic sample included 11% first time voters, 13% school dropouts, 32.7% graduates+. Again they have a higher skew of graduates. They partnered with Statistics professor from Madras University T. R. Gopalakrishnan.
- ThanthiTV surveyed 20,000 respondents from all the constituencies. They have not shared the demographic breakup, however have stated that all the standard precautions in stratification of sample have been taken care. Their partner was Kris info media.
- Thuglaq weekly surveyed 10,000 respondents from all 39 constituencies. They did not follow a statistical process, but they use a qualitative methodology to interpret results based on findings from the field. Their results were fairly accurate in the 2011 assembly polls giving it some credence.
- Nakkeran magazine also did its predictions – but I summarily discount them as a source – given their political lineation and previous track record of complete failure.
- Vikatan has done a survey of 27,000 respondents and given projected state level vote share. However since constituency wise break-up & demographic break-up is not available, I am constrained to not use this as a source. However I am using the field reports filed in Junior Vikatan.
> 70% Probability
50 to 70% Probability
Low Margin Close Call
The above table takes into account our stab on who would win each of the 16 constituencies that were classified as close calls. If our predictions on closed calls go the other way, then there are upside and downside possibilities for each of the alliances. Accordingly we provide the forecasts as range of seats below. These can be treated as safe bets of the likely electoral outcome.
ADMK – 11 to 29
DMK – 5 to 15
NDA – 4 to 15
Constituency Wise Analysis
Chennai Region consists of ultra-urban 4 constituencies viz. North Chennai, Central Chennai, South Chennai and the new reorganized Sriperumpudur constituency.
The traditional under-class constituency of Chennai city has been a DMK bastion for many years. This time witnesses a clash between Girirajan (DMK) a close aide of Stalin, and Venkatesh Babu (ADMK) a former district secretary. NDA has pitted a DMDK candidate who appears to be heading for a 3rd place finish. ThanthiTV gives ADMK 35%, DMK 30%, NDA 24%. Kumudam gives ADMK 44.88% vote share, DMK 32.40%, and NDA 14.73%. Stalin’s own Assembly constituency Kolathur falls in this seat. The field work of Sekar Babu (DMK) district secretary has been top notch. Several family members of Karunanidhi have also campaigned and field reports suggest they have been well received. Field reports also suggest Venkatesh Babu hasn’t loosened his purse and is also facing internal factional issues on the ground. Vijayakanth and Premalatha have both campaigned in this constituency and they have also received decent traction. The actual NDA vote share will be higher than these surveys whereby they will eat into ADMK vote share. So I am going to go with a DMK win with > 70% probability.
This is a high profile constituency which sees two time MP and Ex-minister Dayanidhi Maran (DMK) fighting to retain this traditional DMK bastion. He is pitted against Vijaya Kumar (ADMK) a newcomer. Also in fray from NDA is DMDK candidate Professor. Ravindran. ThanthiTV survey says the race is very close with ADMK 35%, DMK 35.6%, NDA 24%. Kumudam survey gives ADMK 39.72%, DMK 30.48%, NDA 25.10%. All these figures indicate how close the contest it. Dayanidhi Maran is famous for his last minute claw-backs as was witnessed in 2009 as well. The DMK fieldwork has generally been impressive, although they are facing anti-incumbency and pressure of scams. The two flyovers built by Maran from his MPLAD has been appreciated by everyone. ADMK fieldwork is much better in Central Chennai than North Chennai. NDA is also giving a tough fight but is not good enough to pip the other two. Hence I am going to go for an extremely close finish, with DMK winning this with a close margin.
South Chennai is touted as a constituency of Brahmins and Educated voters, but the reality is different. Although their proportion is higher than other constituencies in Tamilnadu, they are still not strong enough to be decisive. The underclass and middle-class voters still hold the key for win here. This time ADMK has field Dr.Jayavardhan son of ex-speaker Jayakumar. DMK has moved its North Chennai MP and party general secretary TKS Ilangovan here. Tall leader of TN BJP Ila. Ganesan is contesting here on behalf of NDA. ThanthiTV survey shows ADMK 34.2%, DMK 32.4%, NDA 30%. Kumudam shows a slender lead for ADMK with 36.24%, DMK 35.65%, NDA 19.97%. AAP also gets an impressive 2.66% vote share here. Among Chennai constituencies, ADMK’s field work appears to be working best only in South Chennai. The profile of Jayavardhan is equally appealing to all segments of the society. Ila. Ganesan does not appear to be swinging the Brahmin and educated voter base entirely, as many voters still appear to be backing the ADMK. Hence I am going to go for a win for ADMK with 50 to 70% probability.
The reorganized Sriperumpudur consists of Chennai suburban assembly segments Alandur, Pallavaram, Tambaram, Maduravoyal, Poonamallee and Sriperumpudur.
This constituency witnesses a fight between two “kalvi thanthais” (deemed university owners) who are famous for their money power. DMK has pitted Jagath Ratchakan ex-minister who has moved from Arakkonam to this seat vacated by TR Balu. ADMK has fielded Ramachandran. Other contestants include Masilamani of the MDMK in NDA and Arun Anbarasu of Congress. ThanthiTV gives ADMK 39.7%, DMK 32.7%, NDA 24.4%. Kumudam gives DMK 43.32%, ADMK 27.16, NDA 18.76%. All the three main candidates are Vanniyars taking the caste factor out of the equation. AAP is also expected to split 3% vote share here. Assembly by-election is happening in parallel for Alandur constituency; where ADMK is the favourite. Will Alandur voters vote differently in the two elections is a big question. Field work by all the three parties has been impressive. Good bonhomie is observed between NDA allies in the campaign here, and the vote share will surely exceed 25% eating into ADMK vote share. MMK and VCK has been tirelessly canvassing for Jagath and I think they will hold the key to who wins here. Hence it is a tough call and I am going to go with DMK winning with a low margin.
North Tamilnadu Region
The North Region of Tamilnadu consists of 10 LS constituencies spread over the districts of Tiruvallur, Kanchipuram, Vellore, Tiruvannamalai, Vilupuram and Kadalur.
Tiruvallur constituency is spread north of Chennai bordering Andhra Pradesh. It has a high proportion of fishermen, Telugu speaking people, certain vanniyar pockets and more importantly high proportion of Dalits. ADMK has fielded sitting MP Venugopal who is known as a no-nonsense man with clean track record. Writer Ravikumar of VCK is contesting here in the DMK alliance; who is an acceptable face to all segments of the society. DMDK is contesting on behalf of NDA. A major setback for NDA is the shifting of allegiance of Arun Subramaniyan (DMDK MLA from Tiruttani) to the rebel group of MLAs in the eve of elections. He still retains significant clout within the Northern segments of the district. VCK campaign has been lack-lustre with DMK functionaries unhappy with the ticket allocation. With the intervention of ex-MLA Sudarsanam, they are however slowly picking steam now. ADMK campaign is also faction ridden between two state ministers Ramana and Moorthy. However since Venugopal is beyond these party factions, they are separately covering their catchment areas pretty well. ThanthiTV gives ADMK 44%, DMK 32%, NDA 16%. Kumudam gives ADMK 47.02%, DMK 26.81% and NDA 20.98%. The writing on the wall seems to be fairly clear and am predicting ADMK win with greater than 70% probability.
Kanchipuram constituency is spread south of Chennai and is dominated by Vanniyars and Dalits in equal measure. ADMK has fielded a new face Maragatham Kumaravel, while DMK has fielded Selvam. MDMK party secretary Mallai Sathya is fielded on behalf of NDA, and sitting MP Viswanathan of Congress is also in the fray. The minority votes and Dalit votes are mostly going with DMK as per field reports. Mallai Sathya does not identify himself much with the caste and is seen as a tall leader within MDMK. But his pocket of influence is restricted to Chengulpet and Tiruporur assembly constituencies – where is expected to win the bulk of his votes. ADMK campaign has been impressive thus far focusing on women candidate and Amma’s welfare schemes. ThanthiTV gives ADMK 46%, DMK 27%, NDA 19%. Kumudam gives ADMK 36.88%, DMK 32.68%, NDA 24.54%. However after Mallai Sathya’s campaign took off there is a perceptible shift in the voter thinking and is becoming a close three way race; whereby any of the three can win it. But based on the field work of ADMK and the mood of women voters, I am going to go for ADMK with 50 to 70% probability.
Arakkonam constituency is spread over the eastern half of Vellore district. The population is dominated by Vanniyars and Dalits. Muslims and Telugu speaking communities also have sizable presence. DMK has fielded Advocate N.R. Ilango who is also son of former MLA N.R. Ranganathan. ADMK has fielded ex-MLA Tiruttani Hari, while ex- central minister A.V. Velu of PMK is contesting on behalf of NDA. ThanthiTV results showed a huge lead for ADMK with 47.2%, DMK 28.4%, NDA 21.6%. However Kumudam results are much closer giving ADMK 38.89%, DMK 31.34%, NDA 23.36%. The field work of Velu has been impressive and he has harnessed well the support of DMDK party workers too. Arun Subramaniyan factor will play out in Tiruttani segment. DMK has usually been strong in Katpadi, Ranipet and Arcot segments and will do well this time as well. How much will Duraimurugan’s personal disappointment affect the chances of DMK remains to be seen. Tirutani Hari is a known face in ADMK and not much factionalism observed in their field work. Velu needs Modi factor to work to his advantage to make deep cuts into ADMK vote share – however how much of it will realize remains to be seen. So I am going to go for ADMK with 50 to 70% probability.
The reorganized Vellore constituency covers the western half of Vellore district, which has a sizable presence of Vanniyars, Dalits and more importantly Muslims. Ambur and Vaniyambadi segments have seen Muslim league MLAs for many years. No ally within NDA wanted this constituency and it ended on the lap of BJP. BJP couldn’t find a candidate and made New Justice Party leader AC Shanmugam its candidate. DMK has given this seat to its IUML ally and polarization is stark in Ambur and Vaniyambadi segments. ADMK has fielded Senguttuvan who is a known face within the district. ThanthiTV results were ADMK 28.4%, DMK 24.8%, NDA 28%, and Cong 18%. This huge vote share of Congress was because of sharp polarization of Muslim votes in favour of Congress. Kumudam gives ADMK 42.02%, DMK 30.27%, NDA 21.84%. DMK leader Duraimurugan’s son was denied seat here, and in the ensuing ruckus some of his supporters were suspended too. The bad blood between DMK local men and IUML appears to have been sorted out, at least on the surface. Vellore witnessed murder of two RSS/BJP functionaries Arvind Reddy and Vellaiyan allegedly by Islamic terrorists. AC Shanmugam is hence counting on the Hindu Mudaliyar votes, PMK’s Vanniyar votes and the sympathy triggered BJP votes. ADMK’s fieldwork has not been extra-ordinary here, but is primarily relying on the Amma’s welfare schemes and feel good factor. I expect Muslims to tactically desert the congress and consolidate behind IUML this time. If this happens then DMK will win this seat with a low margin, else it may go to the ADMK; But for now it is a probable DMK win with low margin.
Tiruvannamalai constituency consists of two segments from Vellore district Tiruppattur and Jolarpettai, in addition to Tiruvannamalai, Chengam, Kalasapakkam and Kilpennathur. It is one of those highly rural and farming dependent constituencies in Tamilnadu. It is the home of DMK strong man E. Va. Velu who runs the Arunai Group of institutions. ADMK has fielded a new face and a women candidate Vanaroja. It was speculated that DMK may field ex-MLA Pichandi’s son, but the seat has instead gone to C.N. Annadurai. Both DMDK and PMK wanted this seat and finally after an intense tussle PMK got the seat in NDA alliance. One needs to remember that Kaduvetti J. Guru won Tiruvannamalai Assembly seat in 2011 despite the state level tide in favour of ADMK. PMK has fielded Ethiroli Maniyan a Vanniyar candidate, while ADMK and DMK have both fielded Mudaliyar candidates. PMK is certainly counting on caste polarization to win this constituency, however their main worry is the sulking DMDK cadre base. DMK factions aren’t too happy with the candidate, but once E. Va. Velu threw his weight behind the candidate things stated to move for them. The women nominee is a master-stroke from ADMK and there is certainly a buzz among women to vote for Vanaroja. ThanthiTV gives ADMK 36%, DMK 34%, NDA 22%. Kumudam call it a tight race with ADMK 35.24%, DMK 35.52%, NDA 22.56%. On the ground PMK cannot be taken lightly here because both Modi factor and Caste factor is working favourably for them. It is hence a tight three way race and any of the 3 can win it. However my prediction is the women voters will help ADMK pip the others by a narrow margin.
Arani constituency consists of four segments from Tiruvannamalai district Arani, Cheyyar, Polur, Vandavasi and two segments Chenji and Mayilam from Vilupuram district. It is dominated by Vanniyars and Dalits. On behalf of NDA, PMK has fielded popular face and ex-Railway minister A K Murthy. There is buzz in the constituency that Murthy will become a minister in Modi cabinet and that is certainly helping his cause. DMDK cadres were sulking initially but they seem to be better now and NDA campaign is doing very well. ADMK has fielded ex-MLA Ezhumalai primarily based on the support he enjoys from state minister Mukkur Subramaniyan. ADMK is primarily campaigning on Amma’s schemes. DMK candidate is Sivanandam. Congress has fielded Vishnuprasad, son of local strongman Krishnaswamy (who is father in law of Anbumani Ramadoss). ThanthiTV results show ADMK 37.6%, NDA 30%, DMK 29%. Kumudam gives ADMK 37.5%, DMK 30.98%, NDA 26.73%. The building mood of Modi surge is clearly visible in this constituency as per several field reports. I think many traditional Congress voters (~3%) will tactically vote for PMK this time and swing the results in favour of NDA. I am predicting a win for PMK with a low margin here.
Vilupuram is the home district of PMK founder Ramadoss. It is dominated by Vanniyars and Dalits in equal measure. It is also the home district of DMK leader Ponmudi and ADMK leader C V Shanmugam. Ponmudi has managed to get his close confidante Dr. Muthaiyan nominated on behalf of DMK. ADMK has fielded Rajendran, while DMDK has fielded Umashankar. Dr. Muthaiyan is seen as the front-runner by many local media reports. VCK cadre are also working tirelessly for him and Ponmudi’s campaign is well organized. ADMK candidate selection is unimpressive and they are primarily relying on Amma factor to bail them out here. ThanthiTV gives ADMK 36.7%, DMK 31%, NDA 25.9%. Kumudam gives ADMK 32.94%, DMK 36.42%, NDA 26.88%. The biggest problem for NDA here is the DMDK candidate in what is the home turf of PMK. Since the antipathy of PMK cadre towards DMDK is well known, whether they will vote enbloc for victory of the DMDK candidate (or) tactically shift their votes elsewhere is a real worry in the ground. Hence the key factor that will decide the winner here is – which way will the vanniyars vote. If they shift to ADMK then ADMK may swing it, however in all likelihood it may see a three way split thereby favouring the DMK. Due to the impressive fieldwork of Ponmudi and the active support he is getting from VCK, I am going to predict a DMK win with a 50 to 70% probability.
Kadalur constituency threw a surprising result in 2009 when it elected a Congress MP. This year such a result is unlikely. ADMK has fielded a known face and district secretary Arunmozhi Devan. He enjoys a clean image and is perceived as an accessible do-gooder within the region. ADMK is also boosted here by the support of Velmurugan who quit PMK to form his own party. DMK has fielded Nandagopala Krishnan here. On behalf of NDA this seat is allocated to DMDK. DMDK changed its candidate Ramanujan and replaced him with Jayashankar mid way. Congress siting MP Alagiri is also contesting. ThanthiTV gives ADMK 44%, DMK 20%, and NDA 28%. Kumudam gives a huge lead for ADMK with 47.36%, DMK 33.47% and NDA 14.29%. Nothing seems to be against ADMK in this constituency and I am going for ADMK win with greater than 70% probability.
The leader of VCK, Thirumavalavan is the sitting MP from Chidambaram. The constituency is dominated by Vanniyars and Dalits in equal measure. VCK leader Thiruma is seeking mandate again as a part of DMK alliance. ADMK has fielded Chandrakasi who appears no match to the other candidates. Congress has fielded veteran leader Vallal peruman. This forced local strongman Maniratnam to migrate to PMK in election eve and he got PMK ticket on behalf of NDA. However his nomination has been rejected and his wife is now the official PMK candidate. The biggest plus for PMK is that Guru and his team are working actively in this constituency. Maniratnam is seen as Guru’s man within the constituency. There is anti-incumbency factor against Thiruma, but he is doing his best to address them by doing over-night stays in villages. ThanthiTV gives ADMK 35.2%, DMK 31.6% and NDA 30.4%. Kumudam gives it to VCK with 38.40%, ADMK 32.24% and NDA 23.61%. ADMK has appointed sidelined leader Sengottaiyan as the constituency in-charge to drive the campaign. However despite his best efforts, I think this is one of those constituencies where ADMK will finish outside the top two. The race here is seen as a battle between Thiruma and Guru now. With ADMK splitting higher OBC votes than Dalit votes, I am going to go for a re-election of Thiruma with a 50 to 70% probability.
Kallakuricchi is the fourth LS seat from the erstwhile South Arcot distrct. This constituency consists of Kallakuricchi, Sankarapuram, Rishivandiyam, Gengavalli from Vilupuram distrct and two segments Aththur and Yercaud from neighbouring Salem district. DMDK leader Vijayakanth is the MLA from Rishivandiyam which falls within this constituency. DMK has fielded Manimaran here – who is seen as the only DMK nominee not hand-picked by Stalin. ADMK has fielded Dr. K. Kamaraj. It was speculated that DMDK leader L.K. Sudheesh may contest here, but he chose neighbouring Salem. DMDK has fielded V.P. Easwaran as candidate. ThanthiTV gives ADMK 35.4%, DMK 33.2%, and NDA 27%. However Kumudam shows DMK at 39.43%, ADMK 34.06%, and NDA 22.65%. The NDA vote share here will clearly exceed 25% and hurt ADMK the most. The traditional DMK votes in this constituency and the VCK votes are strongly consolidating behind Manimaran giving him a clear edge on the ground. Hence I am going to go for a win for DMK here with a 50 to 70% probability.
The Delta region consists of 6 constituencies that make up Central Tamilnadu in the erstwhile Trichy, Tanjore and Pudukottai districts. This is the region with lowest “Modi wave” as per various media reports.
Perambalur is the home town of DMK central minister A. Raja, who is contesting from a far away Nilgris constituency. This constituency also includes Musiri, Lalgudi and Manachanallur which are perceived as strongholds of DMK leader K.N. Nehru. This is one constituency where Udaiyar and Rediyar voters are also rich in numbers. That is why NDA ally IJK’s leader Pariventhar (Chairman of SRM group of institutions) chose to contest here. DMK has fielded Prabhu who is close to Nehru. ADMK has fielded Marudairaj. ThanthiTV results shows ADMK and DMK at 35%, NDA 23.7%. Kumudam gives ADMK 33.98%, DMK 36.72%, NDA 25.44%. The biggest plus for DMK is the caste equation of Dalits, Reddiyars, and a portion of Udaiyars. NDA is relying on certain Udaiyar votes, Modi factor, money power of Pariventhar. ADMK’s core voter base here is Mukkulathor and Mutharaiyars. The latter are somewhat disgruntled of late. So I am going to predict a DMK win with greater than 70% probability here.
Trichy is a urbanized constituency with four city segments and Gandharvakottai and Pudukottai from neighbouring district. This also includes CM Jayalalitha’s constituency Srirangam. ADMK has fielded sitting MP Kumar again. DMK has fielded Anbalagan. Congress has fielded ex-mayor Charubala Thondaiman who hails from the royal family of Pudukottai. BJP was hoping for this seat and started field work early too, but the seat was given to DMDK who has fielded Vijayakumar who contested in 09 polls too. ThanthiTV gives ADMK 41%, DMK 32%, NDA 22%, and Cong 5%. Kumudam shows ADMK 37.94%, DMK 32.91%, NDA 21.11%, and Cong 2.26%. Kumar is perceived to be in the good books of CM and this is working in his favour in terms of ADMK field work. Most of the Trichy DMK cadre are working in neighbouring Perambalur for Nehru’s man Prabhu, and Anabalagan’s campaign hasn’t taken off completely. Charubala is going to split votes in the two pudukottai district segments, which are the weakest for Kumar. DMDK candidate has a 1 Lakh voter base, but he needs Modi wave and BJP votes enmasse, in order to win. That is not happening in the ground because many of the BJP voters are soft on ADMK. So I am predicting a re-election of Kumar (ADMK) with a probability between 50 to 70%.
The reorganized Karur constituency is spread south-east of Karur town to include Karur, Krishnarayapuram, and Aravakurichi from Karur district, Viralimalai from Pudukottai district, Manaparai from Trichy district and Vedasandur from Dindugul district. The industrial town is famous for Kongu Vellalar entrepreneurs in lorry building and textiles. The sitting MP and ADMK representative in Delhi Thambidurai is seeking re-election. His opponents are both ADMK dissidents who quit over recent years. DMK has fielded Chinnasamy a Trade union leader and a known ex-ADMK face within the region. DMDK has fielded Krishnan another known ex-ADMK face. Jothimani of Rahul Gandhi’s youth congress is giving a token fight. ThanthiTV gives ADMK 44%, DMK 28%, and NDA 17.4%. Kumudam goes for a DMK win with ADMK 38.34%, DMK 46.34%, and NDA 10.62%. Thambidurai is facing heavy anti-incumbency and he is also being seen as an outsider from Krishnagiri district (his inlaws are from Karur). Chinnasamy is not only confident of his DMK votes and support of local DMK strongman Palaniswamy, but he is also attracting dissident ADMK voters who are unhappy with Thambidurai and local minister Senthil Balaji. However ADMK has considerably upped their campaign over the last two weeks and field reports suggest that Senthil Balaji is now seeing this as a “do or die” battle for his ministerial berth. How much will Senthil Balaji’s late surge in field work help ADMK remains to be seen. He has faced several such crises in the past and has tided over. Based on Senthil Balaji’s last two weeks fieldwork, I am going to predict a ADMK win with a low margin.
Thanjavur has been a DMK bastion for several years. It is the home of five time sitting MP and Central minister Palanimanickam, who has been denied ticket this time. DMK leader and representative in Delhi, TR Balu has been fielded here. ADMK has fielded Parasuraman who was a secretary in Nilgris and not a known face in the district. He is primarily counting on local shatrap and minister Vaithyalingam’s support to win. NDA ally MDMK had a significant presence once, with ex-central minister L Ganesan. After he defected to DMK, MDMK lost base and showed no interest in claiming this seat. BJP decided to contest this seat by default and has fielded State secretary Karuppu (alias) Muruganandam. The focus of this election is on T R Balu and whether he will be able to beat all odds to win again. Balu is facing wrath of people in Mannargudi for his liquor factory and the unhappiness of Palanimanickam supporters who are sulking badly. ThanthiTV gives ADMK 36%, DMK 34.2%, and NDA 25.4%. Kumudam gives DMK 44.21%, ADMK 37.01%, and NDA 12.14%. Thuglaq is also going for a win again for T R Balu. What works for T R Balu is the inspid candidate selection of ADMK. What he is against is Azhagiri factor, Palanimanickam factor, general anti-incumbency factor against DMK, and the inspired candidate selection of BJP. Had BJP decided the candidate earlier (they decided only on the last date of nomination) and started the field work earlier, they could have given a tough fight with Modi wave in their favour. However I am afraid their late surge will only cut into ADMK votes. Hence I am going for DMK win with 50 to 70% probability.
Mayiladuthurai is the home town of Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar. It consists of assembly segments Kumbakonam, Papanasam, Mayiladuthurai, Tiruvidaimaruthur, Sirkazhi and Poompuhar. The sitting ADMK MP O S Manian is highly discredited and has been denied seat and Bharathi Mohan has been fielded here. DMK has given this seat to its Muslim ally MMK who has fielded Haider Ali. PMK announced its candidate Agoram eight months back and is now contesting on behalf of NDA. Mani Shankar Aiyar is contesting again as a Congress candidate. ThanthiTV gives ADMK 36%, DMK 22.8%, NDA 30.4%. Kumudam shows ADMK 40.14%, DMK 36.05%, and NDA 17.35%. The biggest plus factor for DMK alliance is the consolidation of minority votes, Dalit votes and traditional DMK votes in Tanjore district. ADMK is campaigning based on Amma’s welfare schemes, Cauvery tribunal award and the support of several farmer associations. PMK is relying on Vanniyar votes in northern pockets of the constituency plus the Modi factor. Agoram started his campaign earlier and that advantage will help him hit 25% vote share, but still won’t be sufficient to finish in top-2.The traditional ADMK Mukkulathor vote base and farmer votes are strongly consolidating behind ADMK and consequently I expect ADMK to pip MMK with a probability 50 to 70%.
Nagapattinam is the home of three time sitting DMK MP AKS Vijayan who is again seeking re-election. It consists of assembly segments Nagai, Nannilam, Kilvelur, Vedaranyam and Tiruvarur and Tiruturaipoondi from neighbouring Tiruvarur district. Tiruvarur is the home town of DMK leader Karunanidhi. ADMK has fielded Dr. Gopal who is a close confidante of state minister and local strongman Jayapal. None in the NDA alliance wanted this seat and it was finally given to PMK; who are contesting as a formality. Communists have a strong base here and CPI is contesting this time. AKS Vijayan of DMK is facing huge anti-incumbency and dissatisfaction from the fishermen community. ADMK candidate Dr. Gopal is counting on minister Jayapal to get fishermen votes enmasse in his favour. Communists are expected to split the DMK votes in segments like Tiruturaipoondi and Kilvelur; and they are not going to show mercy towards arch-rival Vijayan. ThanthiTV gives a huge ADMK lead with ADMK 41.2%, DMK 25.2%, NDA 23.6%. Kumudam shows ADMK 39.33%, DMK 34.78%, and NDA 17.59%. Thuglaq survey shows a groundswell in favour of ADMK too. The field work of ADMK campaign led by minister Jayapal and the success of Amma visit appears to have tilted the scale firmly in favour of ADMK. I am going for ADMK win with greater than 70% probability.
Kongu region consists of 9 constituencies from what is erstwhile referred to as Salem and Coimbatore Jillas – that has now been split into 7 districts viz. Krishnagiri, Dharmapuri, Salem, Namakkal, Erode, Tiruppur, and Coimbatore. This is the region with highest “Modi wave” as per various survey reports.
Krishnagiri constituency is situated in the Northwest corner of the state bordering both Karnataka and Andhra. Krishnagiri, Bargur and Uttangarai segments are dominated by Vanniyars, Vellala Gounders and Dalits. Veppanpalli, Hosur and Thally are dominated by Telugu and Kannada speaking communities. Muslims are also sizable in Krishnagiri segment. The politics here is influenced by political equations in Karnataka and Andhra too. The elevation of K.P. Munusamy as state minister & part of Amma’s core team has put ADMK power equations to rest. Locally known face and bachelor ADMK worker Ashok kumar is the ADMK nominee. He has full backing of KPM and all the other factions of ADMK. PMK has put its state party president G.K. Mani as NDA candidate. DMK has replaced its twice sitting MP sugavanam with a new face Chikka Bellappa. Sellakumar of Congress is contesting too. ThanthiTV shows a close race with ADMK 36%, DMK 28.8%, and NDA 25.4%. Kumudam gives ADMK 38.8%, DMK 26.96% and NDA 26.96%. The image of KPM, Ashok kumar’s personality and Amma’s welfare schemes are working in favour of ADMK. Creation of new talukas and arrival of Hoggenakal water are certain boost to ADMK’s prospects here. The Modi wave is Karnataka is helping G K Mani in Hosur and Thally segments. DMK is certain to finish third here, with their insipid candidate selection and existing anti-incumbency against Sugavanam. Both Amma and Modi rallies were well received here and tough to predict who moved people the most. The race is extremely close and result is very difficult to predict. The key will be whether vanniyars go with KPM or GK Mani. I am going for a ADMK win with an extremely close margin.
Dharmapuri is one of the most backward constituencies in TN in terms of development. The constituency has a huge concentration of Vanniyars and Dalits. PMK has won this seat several times and hence decided to nominate ex-central minister Anbumani Ramadoss as candidate. ADMK has nominated 60+ veteran Mohan. DMK has re-nominated sitting MP and Advocate Thamaraiselvan, who is taking on Jaya in the Bangalore DA case. Congress has fielded Vazhappadi Ramamurthy’s son Rama Suganthan. All the major parties have gone with Vanniyar candidates denting the advantage for Anbumani. The recent caste violence in Naikkenkottai between Vanniyars and Dalits has heavily polarized the constituency on caste lines. ThanthiTV gives ADMK 34%, DMK 32.7%, NDA 28.6%. Kumudam shows ADMK 35.52%, DMK 35.52% and NDA 22.56%. Tughlaq differs with these two and thinks NDA will win this seat in a tight race. VCK workers are fully behind DMK candidate and their campaign has been meticulous. PMK campaign started with caste rhetoric, but has now switched to invocation of Modi. Because of the bonhomie between Anbumani and Vijayakanth, DMDK cadre are also working with PMK. ADMK campaign is primarily targeting the older voters and women voters. Virtually in every Vanniyar village in Mettur, Palacode and Dharmapuri segments, one can only see bright Mango posters. The concern for PMK is the split of votes that Rama Suganthan is going to make. If they minimize this, then I too think PMK will this constituency in a close margin 3-way race.
Salem constituency consists of 3 urban constituencies within the city, and rural constituencies of Omalur, Veerapandi and Edappadi. This constituency has been the home of the Kumarangalam family, whose third generation candidate is now contesting on a congress ticket. It was a point of key tangle between PMK and DMDK in alliance negotiation and finally given to DMDK. Vijayakanth’s brother-in-law, LK Sudheesh is the NDA candidate. ADMK has replaced sitting MP Semmalai with a new face Panner Selvam. DMK has fielded a completely new face called Umarani, who is rumoured to be close to Durga Stalin. ThanthiTV shows ADMK 42%, DMK 24%, and NDA 26%. Kumudam gives ADMK 39.76%, DMK 33.74%, and NDA 20.88%. ADMK candidate selection is spot-on and their campaign has been excellent in the constituency. DMK candidate being a party-outsider and is a gounder in a vanniyar dominated constituency are both negatives. Both Veerapandi Raja’s faction and Panamaraththupatty Rajendran’s faction were initially unhappy with the choice of the candidate. However after Stalin’s intervention their campaign has picked up. L K Sudheesh is the only popular name in the DMDK candidate list and their cadre are working over-drive. The biggest concern for DMDK is the sulking PMK cadre whose candidate Arul & his supporters are still throwing tantrums big time. L K Sudheesh is hoping that Modi wave will compensate for the same. However as things stand that can only help NDA come second in the race. I predict ADMK to romp home with 50 to 70% probability.
Namakkal constituency consists of Namakkal, Senthamangalam, Paramatti, Rasipuram, Tiruchengode, and Sankagiri
assembly constituencies. Namakkal is the model district of entrepreneurial spirit of the Kongu Vellalar community. It is the nerve-centre of broiler Chicken and Egg production of the state. It is also home to All India Motor Congress and Lorry owners association. DMK sitting MP and ex-central minister Gandhiselvan has been fielded again. He is close to Stalin and DMK has no major factionalism within this district. ADMK has fielded veteran leader P R Sundaram. DMDK has been allocated in this seat in the NDA alliance. Vijayakanth announced Maheshwaran as candidate who backed out and joined ADMK. Since then DMDK has announced SK Velu as candidate. Clearly the campaign and fieldwork shows NDA is not in the reckoning here. It appears to be a head to head race between DMK and ADMK. ThanthiTV shows ADMK 38%, DMK 31%, and NDA 29%. Kumudam gives ADMK 38.34%, DMK 46.34%, and NDA 10.62%. There is definitely anti-incumbency against Gandhiselvan, but to be honest it is one of the least among any of the DMK MPs. ADMK can win the race if they can persuade some of the floating NDA voters to vote for their candidate. Otherwise this constituency is going to DMK again with a 50 to 70% probability.
Erode parliamentary constituency is very different from Erode district. It consists of Erode East, West, Kumarapalayam, Modakuricchi along with Kangeyam and Dharapuram from adjacent Tiruppur district. The sitting MP is Ganesamurthy of MDMK who won in 2009 in alliance with ADMK. He has been fielded again, but this time MDMK is contesting as a part of NDA. ADMK has fielded Selvakumara Chinnaiyan who has full support of district leaders. DMK has fielded an absolute political novice; the 27-year old Pavithravalli. ThanthiTV shows ADMK 40.4%, DMK 31%, and NDA 22%. Kumudam gives ADMK 36.84%, DMK 30.92%, and NDA 25.49%. DMK nominee is facing several challenges like being an outsider and not enjoying the support of local strongman NKP Raja as she was recommended by Tiruppur district secretary Vellakoil Swaminathan. Consequently DMK campaign has been restricted and is primarily relying on the core DMK voters and Dalit vote base. ADMK has been a front-runner with its campaign and their fieldwork has been impressive. What works against ADMK are the frequent power cuts, GAIL pipeline issue and water issues. Ganesamurthy enjoys good personal reputation as a MP and the full backing of the Modi wave. The NDA campaign has been gathering momentum over the last three weeks. However whether it will be sufficient to outsmart ADMK remains to be seen. For now, I am predicting ADMK win with a low margin over MDMK.
Tiruppur constituency perversely consists of only Tiruppur East and West from Tiruppur district and the bulk of Erode district including Perundhurai, Gopi, Bhavani, and Anthiyur. Tiruppur is a highly industrialized town on the lines of Surat in Gujarat and famous for its Textile industry. Communists have a strong presence in the trade unions limited to Tiruppur. However the bulk of population consists of Vellala Gounders, Dalits, and Telugu speaking Naickers. Vanniyars (Bhavani) and Vokkaligas (Gopi) are also present in sizable number. ADMK has fielded V Sathyabama who is enjoying good support of minister Anandan. DMK has fielded a doctor from Gopi called Dr. Senthilnathan. DMDK was surprised in 2009 LS polls when it got close to 1 Lakh votes here contesting independently. It has gone with the same candidate Dineshkumar on behalf of NDA. EVKS Elangovan of Congress and Subbarayan of CPI are also contesting here. Tiruppur was not covered by Kumudam. ThanthiTV gives ADMK 38.4%, DMK 19, and NDA 24.2% with 4 to 6% vote split each to Congress, Communists and AAP. With both Congress and Communists fielding strong candidates, they are guaranteed to take 6% vote each. DMK candidate’s influence is restricted to Gopi and Anthiyur segments. The race seems to be hence between ADMK and DMDK candidates. What is working well for Sathyabama is the fieldwork of the party, support of the minister and Amma’s welfare schemes. Frequent power cuts, fall in textile industry, agriculture downfall and lack of industrial growth are working against ADMK this time. The NDA campaign is well coordinated between BJP, KMDK and DMDK cadres. It is really a tough race between ADMK and DMDK, and I am going for a DMDK win with a close margin.
Coimbatore referred as Manchester of South India consists of Coimbatore North, South, Kavundampalayam, Singanallur, Sulur segments and Palladam from adjacent Tiruppur district. Coimbatore has never got a ADMK MP for many years as it has always been given to a coalition partner like Congress, BJP or Communists. This time ADMK is contesting and has fielded B. Nagaraj as candidate. DMK has fielded a relatively new face Ganesh Kumar. BJP leader and ex-MP CP Radhakrishnan is contesting here. Ex-MP Prabhu is contesting on Congress ticket. Sitting MP Natarajan of CPIM is also seeking re-election. Although the constituency is dominated by Vellala Gounders, Kamma Naickers and Dalits – people say this is one of the urbanized constituencies where caste plays a lesser role in voting. ThanthiTV shows Coimbatore to a close contest with ADMK 39%, NDA 37% and DMK 17%. Kumudam did not cover this constituency. Tughlaq gives this constituency to ADMK. DMK is facing heavy anti-incumbency and factionalism. Many party cadre have migrated to the adjoining Pollachi constituency to work for District secretary Pongalur Palanisamy. So DMK is certain to finish third here. Congress candidate Prabhu and Communists are expected to split 6% and 4% of votes respectively. There is a huge Modi wave observed in this constituency and CPR is a known face within the state. All NDA allies KMDK, BJP, DMDK and MDMK are working well together. Even in interior villages BJP flags can be seen flying. In this constituency there are no soft votes for ADMK, because people perceive CPR as a winnable candidate. Hence
I am going for a BJP win with a close margin.
Pollachi constituency consists of the rural segments of Coimbatore district including Pollachi, Udumalai, Madaththukulam, Valparai, Thondamuththur and Kinathukidavu. Farming and animal husbandry are the main occupation for people. This is again a constituency that is brimming with entrepreneurial spirit of Vellala Gounders and Naickers. Sitting ADMK MP Sukumar has been replaced with C Mahendran. DMK district secretary Pongalur Palanisamy is the DMK candidate. NDA has given this seat to ally KMDK, whose president Easwaran is contesting on Lotus symbol. Congress has fielded Selvaraj. ThanthiTV gives ADMK 35.8%, NDA 31.6% and DMK 28.6%. Kumudam shows ADMK 32.5%, NDA 33.84% and DMK 16.83%. Tughlaq calls it a close race between KMDK and ADMK, with ADMK marginally ahead. Pongalur never wanted this seat and was instead asking Coimbatore seat for his son. The DMK campaign is lack-lustre here and are sure to finish third. ADMK campaign is working well with Pollachi Jayaraman and S P Velumani working well together for Mahendran. However Easwaran is clearly making waves and the Modi factor is also helping his cause. I am going for a NDA win with 50 to 70% probability.
The constituency of Nilgris consists of Ooty, Cooonor and Gudalur on the hills, along with Mettupalayam, Bhavanisagar and Avinashi in the plains. Typical of its geography the voting pattern of the hills have been different to that of the plains. This constitiuency also is the second home of Jayalalitha; Kodanadu estate. This constituency has acquired a nationally high profile because sitting MP and ex- Telecom minister A. Raja of DMK is seeking re-election. ADMK has fielded Gopalakrishnan who is Coonor town secretary. BJP fielded Gurmurthy whose nomination has been rejected. ThanthiTV showed a huge Modi wave in this region with ADMK 19.6%, NDA 50.8%, and DMK 19.6%. Kumudam did not cover this constituency. Tughlaq says the hills are definitely going with A. Raja despite his tainted image, and support for ADMK is observed in the plains. There is also a considerable support for BJP in Mettupalayam and Avinashi segments. In fact Mettupalayam is one of the Municipalities that is ruled by BJP. A Raja’s campaign has been going well as he is consolidating his support base among Dalits, plantation workers and Lankan returnees on the hills. ADMK campaign has been working full swing on the plains. The race is extremely close and the critical determinants are two things (a) How will the Badugar community of the hills vote? (b) Which way are the BJP votes going to go? Badugar community last time voted for Raja, but this time Amma has given them a RS MP. Similarly a Vokkaliga from the plains has also been made a RS MP. Will these two factors swing these communities decisively towards ADMK? BJP and KMDK have still not announced whom they will support in Nilgris. Some argue that their votes will go to ADMK, while others argue they will vote for DMK to teach a lesson to ADMK for Gurumurthy episode. Assuming BJP and KMDK votes go towards ADMK, I am going for an ADMK win here. If this doesn’t happen then Raja will be back in Delhi.
South TN Region
South Tamilnadu consists of 10 LS constituencies from the erstwhile Madurai, Ramanathapuram, Tirunveli and Kanyakumari districts; which have since been split into 9 districts. This is a region where PMK and KMDK as allies have no benefit for NDA, and only DMDK, MDMK and BJP make it count.
Dindugal is carved out of erstwhile Palani parliamentary constituency (which was a Congress stronghold) and consists of Dindugal, Aathur, Naththam, Oddanchatram, Palani and Nilakottai assembly segments. Vast areas of this constituency are rural in nature with farming and handloom weaving being the main occupations. It is also the home district of state electricity minister and part of core-team of Jayalalitha, Naththam Viswanathan. The candidates do not matter here and the contest is seen as a straight tussle between ADMK minister Viswanathan and DMK district secretary and ex-minister I Periyasamy. DMK has fielded Gandhirajan who was ex-deputy speaker of the assembly as a ADMK MLA. ADMK has fielded Uthayakumar. DMDK has fielded Chennai HC advocate A. Krishnamurthy on behalf of NDA. Sitting Congress MP NSV Siththan is seeking relection. Communists have decent presence in Dindugal segment and are also contesting. DMDK candidate hails from Virudhunagar district and lives in Chennai. This has already dampened enthusiasm among cadre. There is a genuine risk that NDA may finish outside top-3 in this constituency. DMK has strong presence in I Periyasamy’s territory of Aaathur and Oddanchatram. They are also counting on PT’s support base in Nilakottai. ADMK is strong in Naththam and Dindugal. Palani has always been a toss-up with even dedicated Congress voters. What is working for Uthayakumar is the strong campaign mounted by Viswanathan, his mukkulaththor caste votes and Amma’s welfare schemes. ThanthiTV shows ADMK 38.6%, DMK 26.6%, and NDA 20.8%. Kumudam gives ADMK 40.64%, DMK 35% and NDA 15.36%. As things stand, ADMK is winning this constituency with a 50 to 70% probability.
Madurai is the home of not only Lord. Meenakshi, but also DMK’s prodigal son MK Alagiri. The constituency consists of 5 city segments and Melur assembly constituency. On behalf of DMK, Alagiri the sitting MP is not contesting and the seat has been given to Veluchamy. ADMK has put up Gopalakrishnan as candidate. DMDK has nominated a Mumbai import called Sivamuthukumar on behalf of NDA. Communists also have a 4 to 6% vote base here. ThanthiTV shows ADMK 38%, DMK 36%, NDA 16%, Cong 5%, and Communists 5%. Kumudam gives ADMK 39.42%, DMK 25.82%, and NDA 24.44%. Congress and Communists are certainly expected to split 4% and 5% votes respectively. DMDK candidate selection is insipid, but what works for him are the home voters of Captain Vijayakanth, MDMK vote base, Modi supporting Saurashtra votes and the other BJP votes within the urban pockets of the city. Veluchamy is one DMK candidate that has not earned the wrath of Alagiri – among the south TN DMK candidates. However several Alagiri supporters are contesting here as proxy (independent) candidates to split DMK votes. ADMK candidate belongs to the Yadava community, making him an impressive choice. The equation of Mukkulaththor + Yadava is expected to tilt the scale decisively in favour of ADMK. I am going with ADMK win with a probability greater than 70%.
Theni parliamentary constituency is a picturesque backyard of areas irrigated by the Vaigai river. It consists of Bodi, Cumbum, Periyakulam on the hills and Usilampatti, Sholavanthan, Andipatti on the foot hills. Andipatti is the constituency that has elected MGR and Jayalalitha several times. It is also the home district of number-2 in Jayalalitha’s cabinet, O Panneer selvam. ADMK has fielded a Kallar (Mukkulaththor) candidate R Parthiban. DMK has fielded a popular face Pon Muthuramalingam who dallied with MDMK at its start. MDMK is contesting on behalf of NDA and has fielded Azhagusundaram. The latter two belong to Agamudaiyar community within Mukkalaththor. Congress has fielded sitting MP JH Haroon. ADMK campaign has been impressive despite the factionalism within the party. OPS has been personally thrown his weight behind Parthiban’s campaign. DMK campaign has also started well and is aided by the votes of forward block splinter groups supporting it in Usilampatti and Sholvandhan segments. DMK is also virtually monopolizing Dalit votes here. However their biggest drawback is Alagiri has vouched to defeat Pon Muthuramalingam who is a chief Alagiri detractor. He is also hated by MDMK cadre after he deserted their party. The Alagiri + Vaiko factor is nullifying their gains. There is a definite Vaiko wave in this constituency because he is seen as the man who has been tirelessly fighting for the rights of the district on Mullai Periyar issue. The votes of castes like Naikkers, Pillais, Vokkaligas, Chettys are expected to go to MDMK this time. ThanthiTV gives ADMK 40%, DMK 30.3% and NDA 22%. Kumudam shows ADMK 36.13%, DMK 25.61%, and NDA 30.34%. Congress is splitting 5% of the votes. With such sharp caste polarization, it appears DMK is running for the third place. At the moment ADMK and MDMK are engaged in a close race where the outcome is difficult to predict. A Vaiko + Modi wave can certainly tilt this constituency in MDMK’s favour; however for now it appears ADMK is winning this with a low margin.
Virudhunagar is the home town of tallest congress leader in Tamilnadu and ex-CM Late. Kamaraj. The boundary of this constituency starts in the southern outskirts of Madurai city viz. Tiruparangundram and Tirumangalam. It also includes Aruppukottai, Virudhunagar, Sattur and Sivakasi. Virudhunagar and Aruppukottai are seen as Nadar Agricultural product hubs, while the more industrialized Sattur and Sivakasi are famous for Matchboxes, Printing, and Firecrackers. Sitting Congress MP and Youth Congress leader Manickam Tagore is seeking re-election. The leader of MDMK Vaiko who lost this constituency in 2009 in alliance with ADMK is now contesting on behalf of NDA. ADMK has fielded Radhakrishnan who belongs to Mukkalaththor community. DMK has fielded Merchant Association President Rathinavelu who recently joined the party. ThanthiTV shows ADMK 39.8%, DMK 22.5% , NDA 27%, and Congress 7.3%. Kumudam gives ADMK 34.10%, DMK 22.92%, NDA 35.20% and Congress 3.82%. It is certain that Congress will split about 5% Nadar votes which would have otherwise gone to DMK. Alagiri has called this candidate a “money bag import” and vouched to defeat him. DMK is primarily relying on Nadar and Dalit votes. ADMK is counting on Mukkalaththor votes. That leaves all other OBC castes to be polarized in favour of Vaiko. Vaiko is strongly identified with this constituency, there is a sympathy wave for his loss in 2009, and he is also seen as a sure-shot Minister in Modi cabinet. All these work in favour of Vaiko and I expect NDA to romp home with greater than 70% probability.
Sivagangai constituency is the heart of Chettinad and the home of the current Finance minister P Chidambaram. It also includes Alangudi and Tirumayam segments from Pudukottai district. P Chidambaram has won this constituency a record six times when contesting in alliance with either ADMK or DMK. He lost once when contesting alone in 98. This time he has fielded his son Karthi P Chidambaram as Congress Candidate. ADMK has put up P R Senthilnathan as its candidate, while DMK has fielded Durairaj. BJP is contesting here on behalf of NDA and its state secretary and popular face H Raja is challenging the others. ThanthiTV gives ADMK 33.4%, DMK 29.2%, NDA 25.2% and Cong 12.2%. Kumudam gives ADMK 33.82%, DMK 35.92%, NDA 20.42% and Cong 5.9%. Congress is expecting to gather its second highest vote share here in the state (after Kanyakumari). Karthi winning is improbable but he is expected to get 8 to 12% votes. ADMK campaign is primarily relying on the anti-incumbency towards Chidambaram and this is not proving to be sufficient. DMK candidate Durairaj has been operating low profile without ruffling Alagiri supporters. BJP candidate H Raja is giving a spirited fight and is counting on Modi wave + Vaiko factor to help him. He also met Alagiri to seek his support. As things stand, any of the three can win this constituency. It is not clear who is cutting whose votes. I think NDA will seriously dent ADMK votes here and the resulting tangle will see DMK scraping through. I am hence going for a lucky win for DMK with low margin.
Ramnad constituency is a highly geographically spread out constituency with roughly 150 Km between the two ends. It includes Aranthangi from Pudukottai district, Thiruvadanai, Ramnad, Paramakudi, Muthukalathur in Ramnad district, and Tiruchuzhi from adjacent Virudhunagar district. It is an arid constituency with hardly any industries. ADMK has fielded ex-state minister Anwar Raja. DMK has fielded a “import” called Mohammed Jaleel who runs educational institutions in Virudhunagar. BJP has fielded Kuppuramu who is a RSS worker that operated alongside Modi in the 90s. He is also the champion of Ram Sethu protection movement in the state. Ex-ADMK and Ex-BJP leader and popular face Tirunavukarasar is contesting again on congress ticket. He got 1 Lakh votes last time while contesting on BJP ticket. ThanthiTV gives ADMK 38%, DMK 31.1%, NDA 24% and Congress 4.8%. Kumudam shows ADMK 36.13%, DMK 33.14%, NDA 20.37% and Congress 5.75%. What is certain is Tirunavukarasu will hog bulk of the votes in Aranthangi segment and can split somewhere between 5 to 7% in total. Current sitting MP of DMK JK Ritheesh is extremely unpopular, turned rebel within DMK to support Alagiri, and has recently joined ADMK as well. DMK campaign is primarily run by district strongman Suba. Thangavelan. DMK is facing huge anti-incumbency against their non-performance. Since both ADMK and DMK have put up Islamic candidates, they are going to share the Islamic votes in Kayalpattinam, Valinokkam belt. Kuppuramu’s association with Modi, Modi’s personal visit and united campaign of NDA allies has added colour to his candidature. As things stand any of the thee candidates can win here. What is not clear is whether the Mukkaloththor votes that traditionally go to ADMK, turn towards Kuppuramu who hails from that community. If this does then Kuppuramu can throw a surprise and pip out ADMK which is currently in the pole position. Playing conservative, I am predicting an absence of such cross-voting and giving it to ADMK with 50 to 70% probability.
Tuticorin is a port city peppered with industries such as Sterlite. Fishing and Salt are other key businesses on the coast. The inland segments are dependent on farming from Thamirabharani waters and rare-earth mining in the therikaadu region. This constituency is seen as a Nadar stronghold. It is home of DMK’s strong man “murattu bhakthan” Periyasamy. He has fielded his son Jagan this time on DMK ticket. ADMK has fielded Jaysingh Nattarjee. On behalf of NDA, MDMK has fielded a youth face Advocate Joel. AAP has fielded Fisherman leader Pushparayan of PMANE fame here. ThanthiTV results show ADMK 41%, DMK 28%, NDA 23.8% and Cong 6%. Kumudam survey gives ADMK 35.88%, DMK 32.06%, NDA 23.96% and Cong 4.63%. AAP is expected to split about 2% of the votes. ADMK candidate selection is inspired because this district has witnessed highest amount of factionalism in recent past. Jayasingh is seen to be above factions and it helps his campaign. Since the DMK candidate is Jagan, all Periyasamy’s followers are working tirelessly. They are also counting on help from their allies PT and MMK. The rebel faction of Anita Radhakrishnan, Jayadurai etc. is sulking; and can affect DMK votes in Tiruchendur and Srivaikuntam segments. Ottapidaram is the stronghold of PT and will wrest it for Jagan. Joel is counting on votes in Vilathikulam and Koilpatti segments where Vaiko has good support. In Tuticorin also Vaiko is seen positively because of his tireless campaign against Sterlite. However as things stand the race is extremely neck and neck between ADMK and DMK. Only a huge Modi wave can help Joel win the race, or he is consigned to finish third. It is tough to make a call, but I am going to go for ADMK to win with low margin over DMK.
Tirunelveli parliament constituency consists of city segments Tirunelveli and Palayamkottai, along with the rural constituencies in the east Nanguneri and Radhapuram, and those in the west viz. Alangulam and Ambasamudram. The sitting Congress MP Rama Subbu has been a model parliamentarian. However this is unlikely to help him get re-elected. All major parties have fielded Nadar candidates here – taking caste out of the political equation. ADMK has fielded Advocate KRP Prabhakaran, while DMK has fielded a builder businessman from Chennai called Devadas sundaram. DMDK contesting in NDA has field Sivananaindha Perumal. AAP has fielded Father Jesuraj. ThanthiTV gives ADMK 46.7%, DMK 26%, NDA 19.1% and Congress 4.2%. Kumudam results shows an extremely close contest with ADMK 31%, NDA 30.19%, DMK 29.22%,and Congress 4.55%. Although DMK candidate is an outsider he has full blessings of District secretary Kana. Howver Alagiri has vouched to get this “money bag” defeated and snub Kana. ADMK had just elevated Christian local leader Vigila Satyanand as RS MP. Hence has gone this time with a Hindu Nadar candidate Prabhakaran. Media reports suggest P H Pandian was hoping to contest and is disappointed. What is working well for NDA in this constituency is the polarization of all Non-Nadar and Non-Mukkulathor OBC castes behind the DMDK candidate. There is also a perceptible Modi wave here. DMDK could pull an upset win if the Modi wave plays out. As things stand, ADMK is ahead only by a whisker and winning in a low margin.
Tenkasi constituency is spread over the foot hills of western ghats and includes Tenkasi, Kadaiyam, Vasudevanallur, Sankarankoil, Rajapalayam and Srivilliputtur. This constituency is the home of Vaiko whose village falls within the Sankarankoil segment. The sitting MP Lingam of CPI won by a whisker in 2009 LS polls in ADMK alliance. He is seeking re-election. ADMK has fielded Vasanthi Murugesan who unsuccessfully contested the Nellai mayor election in 1996. PT party chief and well-known face Dr. Krishnaswamy is contesting as a part of DMK alliance. In NDA MDMK has fielded Dr. Sathan Tirumalaikumar who is well connected with the constituency and party cadre. Congress has fielded Jayakumar who has no connect with the constituency. ThanthiTV gives ADMK 42%, DMK 23%, and NDA 22.7%. Kumudam results show ADMK 29.51%, DMK 30.28% and NDA 32.72%. Thuglaq survey also finds MDMK to be the winner. ADMK candidate selection is unimpressive and they are counting on Mukkalaththor and Nadar votes here. PT leader Krishnaswamy is primarily relying on a massive Dalit and Muslim vote consolidation to pull off a victory. What is working remarkably well for NDA here is the clean image of the candidate, Vaiko + Modi wave, and consolidation of all other OBC castes with MDMK. I am going for a NDA win with a 50 to 70% probability.
Kanyakumari is the southernmost constituency of mainland India. This is a atypical Tamilnadu constituency where the Dravidian parties are junior players. The legacy of Travancore province (from which it joined Tamilandu) still holds here. This is one of the constituencies with highest concentration of Christian voters making elections a polarized affair in the last 20 years. The rise of BJP as a force to reckon is a product of this polarization. The sitting MP in DMK Helen Davidon who won with Congress support in 2009 is not contesting. DMK has replaced her with veteran Rajarathnam. ADMK has fielded John Thangam. BJP state chief Pon. Radhakrishnan is contesting here. AAP has fielded PMANE leader Uthayakumar. CPIM has fielded Bellarmin who unsuccessfully contested in 2009 as a part of ADMK alliance. Congress bowled a googly by fielding a Hindu Nadar leader Vasantha Kumar who runs the chain of the Stores called Vasanth & co. BJP fieldwork in this constituency started very early and the cadre are fully charged. Austin defecting from DMDK to DMK is a setback to Pon. Radhakrishnan. However the small % of DMDK and MDMK votes in this constituency are a plus to BJP. ThanthiTV results show ADMK 24.8%, DMK 4%, NDA 46%, Cong 23.2% and Communists 2.4%. Kumudam results show ADMK 22.21%, NDA 37.19%, DMK 20.49%, Cong 10.82% and Communists 4.93%. The only concern for Pon. R here is how much of Hindu votes would Vasanthakumar split and would that take away his winning edge. As things stand there is an enormous mood in favour of Modi and Pon. R in the constituency and NDA is winning with a greater than 70% probability.
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For us to invest in quality reporting and continue bringing you the right stories, it takes a lot of time and money.
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