Chennai: Notwithstanding the 'corruption' blot, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) chief J Jayalalithaa on Thursday won re-election in the Tamil Nadu Assembly Election 2016.
It is for the first time since 1984 that an incumbent chief minister has won re-election in the southern state.
Here are six reasons why Amma won this time around:
- While corruption was one of the hotly-debated topics in Tamil Nadu in the run-up to polls, the results imply the electorate of Tamil Nadu had accepted the High Court verdict acquitting Jayalalithaa in a multi-crore disproportionate assets case. She was earlier convicted by a special court in Bengaluru on charges of amassing assets disproportionate to her income while she was the Tamil Nadu chief minister during 1991-1996. Further, the DMK's linkage with several scams, mainly the multi-crore 2G spectrum allocation scam, also boosted Jayalalithaa's chances in the absence of a credible opposition.
- The aura of Jayalalithaa, or Amma as she is fondly called, managed to tide over the perception of misgovernance in the state. Amid claims that governance had taken a back seat in Tamil Nadu and that the state's economy was marred by slow growth and development, it appears that the voter has ignored those theories safely remembering the social schemes and freebies doled out by the outgoing government. It appears the Supreme Court's observation that a freebie “influences all people” and “shakes the root of free and fair elections to a large degree” did not find many takers in Tamil Nadu.
- Further, AIADMK's liberal stance on introducing prohibition in the state seems to have played in its favour. While the incumbent party had promised introduction of prohibition in a phased manner and was liberal in its approach on the issue, almost all other parties had promised the introcuction of the policy in one go.
- Lack of a credible and solid face in the opposition is also believed to have played a part in Jayalalithaa's successive victory. DMK chief M Karunanidhi is now quite old - 93 to be precise and wheelchair-bound - and he was probably rejected as a future CM by the state's electorate. Also, his son and DMK heir apparent MK Stalin too failed to invoke trust in his leadership skills, especially in the wake of DMK's internal crisis.
- Another factor that likely played in Jayalalitha's favour was the number of women who cast their vote in the state elections – men were outnumbered by women.
- Last but not the least, 41 percent vote share for AIADMK compared to 31 percent for DMK shows there was genuine support for the incumbent chief minister. She probably had done many things right, despite political experts and pollsters saying the opposite.