Jayalalithaa’s record win: Explaining the math

Jayalalithaa did it. She pulled off a coup in these elections. Just when everyone was writing her political obituary, she stopped the yo-yo from saying go-go. For the first time since 1984, a party has won consecutive elections in Tamil Nadu. And in doing so, Jayalalithaa and her AIADMK have undoubtedly written the political demise of her chief tormentor, M Karunanidhi.  Agreed, stranger things have happened in politics, but that’s another story. Right now, the party in Chennai is outside Jayalalithaa’s house in Poes Garden, where supporters are noisily celebrating the return of Amma.

Except for one exit poll, the others predicted that the DMK would be back. Instead, the AIADMK has won, though with a greatly reduced majority (149 seats in 2011 down to 128 now). She has a working majority of 24 over the DMK alliance. That is quite narrow – if 12 seats changed hands, the DMK would be in power. And that is what must be upsetting the Karunanidhi family: so close, and yet unable to grasp power.

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