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Exit polls project only three seats for ruling AIADMK in Tamil Nadu

The AIADMK will have to win in at least five assembly constituencies to maintain a simple majority

Tamil Nadu elections
FILE PHOTO: A polling officer puts an indelible ink mark on the finger of a voter | Photo: PTI

In the crucial bye-elections held in 22 assembly constituency seats in Tamil Nadu, the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) will get only three seats while the opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) may get 14 seats according to an exit poll survey by India Today-Axis My India on the bye-elections. The rest of the five seats will see tough competition, it says.

The AIADMK will have to win in at least five assembly constituencies to maintain a simple majority in the Legislative Assembly. Not getting the required seat would mean that the government, which won for the second consecutive term in 2016, may fall. 

Bye-elections in 18 out of total 22 seats, were held on April 18, along with the parliamentary elections in Tamil Nadu. The 22 seats fell vacant after the disqualification of 18 pro-Dhinakaran MLAs, death of Karunanidhi and two AIADMK MLAs, and the disqualification of an AIADMK minister by the High Court, following his conviction in a rioting case. The result in these 22 seats is important for the sustenance of the current government, which has a majority in the assembly at present. 

Presently, the ruling AIADMK has 113 members (excluding the Speaker) and its rival DMK-led alliance has 97 MLAs, including 8 from the Congress and one from the IUML. TTV Dhinakaran, nephew of AIADMK's late supremo J Jayalalithaa's close aide Sasikala, who became a rebel after the Palaniswami faction and O Panneerselvam faction joined to lead both the government and the party, is the lone independent MLA.  If the DMK wins 21 seats in the by-polls, it would be in a position to form a government along with its allies, claiming a majority of 118 in the 234-member Assembly.

The EPS government could consider itself safe if it manages to win even 10 seats. Of the 113 members, the loyalty of five is with the Dhinakaran group and the Assembly Speaker has moved a notice against four of them, seeking reason not to disqualify them. Effectively, Palaniswami government has the support of 108 MLAs, and by winning ten seats he can reach the majority mark of 118. While Palaniswami faction has to win 10 seats to survive, Stalin has to win at least 21 seats to dislodge the present government. 

Various exit poll surveys earlier this week predicted that the the DMK Alliance would get a majority in the Lok Sabha elections out of the total 39 seats in the state.