Results for the Lok Sabha elections from Tamil Nadu could have sprung a surprise for the second consecutive time by going against the national trend. But there were other surprises too in terms of how the votes were cast.
With most parties in the state aligning themselves either with the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) led by the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) or the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) headed by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), there were three parties which tried to test their own strength.
Two of the three parties were launched with much fanfare a year ago by film actor Kamal Haasan and expelled AIADMK leader TTV Dinakaran, the nephew of late Jayalalithaa aide Sasikala. Kamal Haasan floated the Makkal Neethi Maiam (MNM), while Dinakaran the Amma Makkal Munnetra Katchi (AMMK).
Apart from these two, there was one party that worked silently and has been able to garner a good number of votes. That party is the Naam Tamilar Katchi (NTK), which had been functioning for quite some years now.
In fact, NTK had been keeping a low profile against the highly visible and high decibel campaigns of Kamal Haasan and Dinakaran. True to its style, it has silently grabbed 3.9 per cent of the votes cast in Tamil Nadu, two percentage points higher than MNM.
In the elections to the 38 Lok Sabha seats in Tamil Nadu, NTK ended up third in seven constituencies, while MNM finished third in 12 constituencies. Interestingly, NTK did well in rural areas, while MNM in urban areas.
In particular, MNM gained hugely in Chennai and its surrounding areas. In South Chennai, its candidate got 1.25 lakh votes, while its candidates in North and Central Chennai got over 90,000 each. Even in Sriperumbudur, it got over a lakh votes.
NTK, too, fared well in all these constituencies getting over 50,000 votes in all but central Chennai where it got 30,000 votes.
NTK, however, ended fourth in 27 constituencies, better than MNM which could finish fourth in only four constituencies. While NTK finished fifth in four constituencies, MNM was firth in 18 constituencies.
In the by-elections to the 22 Assembly constituencies, NTK finished fourth in 18 constituencies against four by MNM. The NTK has probably begun to get the votes of a section of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, who would normally vote for the AIADMK.