CHENNAI: In an unprecedented dismal show, M Karunanidhi-led DMK on Friday headed for a rout in Tamil Nadu as its arch rival AIADMK was well set for a clean sweep, surging ahead in 35 seats out of 39 seats.
The spectacular performance by chief minister J Jayalalithaa’s party in the hustings also decimated a deserted Congress and shattered what was described as a "formidable" six-party alliance stitched by BJP to gain foothold in this southern state.
The outcome of the election was the worst ever for DMK after 1998 when it had won five seats when the party-led United Front ended up with a tally of nine facing crushing defeat at the hands of AIADMK-led NDA that scored 30 seats.
DMK bigwigs and 2G accused Dayanidhi Maran (Central Chennai) and A Raja (Nilgiris-SC) and T R Baalu (Thanjavur) conceded enough ground to their AIADMK rivals, virtually ruling out a comeback in the subsequent rounds of counting.
The trends have come as a jolt to the four-decade old party, which faced internal rumblings leading to the expulsion of former Union minister and Karunanidhi’s elder son M K Alagiri, who had openly campaigned against the party nominees.
DMK was aiming to convert a perceived anti-incumbency into votes in the backdrop of power cuts and drinking water shortage but it was ‘Amma’ all the way.
According to counting trends available for 37 seats at 12 noon, AIADMK was leading in 35 seats including those perceived to be DMK turfs while PMK and BJP were ahead in one constituency each.
Congress, forced to face polls alone with no takers for an alliance, put up some semblance of fight only in Kanyakumari where the fortunes fluctuated between it and BJP before the saffron party shot into the lead.
PMK’s Anbumani Ramadoss was leading in Dharmapuri, bringing cheers to BJP alliance partners. However, BJP’s allies — DMDK, PMK, MDMK and KDMK — seemed to be swept away in the ‘Lady Wave,’ as an AIADMK leader put it, although Jayalalithaa’s national ambitions seem to have been cut short by BJP’s good show across the country.