What is Voter data from the past elections talking loudly to the Tamil Nadu BJP wing?
With the advent of digital technologies, it becomes increasingly essential for big and small parties to start looking at how the votes are cast across the previous elections. It is a known fact that this played a major role in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, however it felt like the Tamil Nadu BJP strategists left a lot to be wanting with regard to their performance in the very crucial south state. Though it did not matter in 2014, Tamil Nadu would turn out to be a crucial state for BJP to make up for potential losses in UP due to a the unholy alliance between the SP and BSP.
Tamil Nadu is always known to be a state of loyal voter bastions for the ADMK and DMK. To continue winning seats, parties eventually align with one of the two main parties forgetting their ideologies and why they were formed in the first place. The stronghold of leaders like Karunanidhi and Jayalalitha have ensured that no other alternative could be considered for the past few decades. However, things clearly could change starting this Lok sabha elections provided BJP uses their limited resources in the right manner instead of becoming too ambitious. Even getting more than 15 seats (with or without alliances) would partially compensate for the potential losses in UP.
The Swing seats
The map above marks the swing parliamentary seats in north Tamil Nadu based on the voter data in the past 5 elections. The ones in red are traditionally DMK bastions (where the DMK have won 3 or more times in the past 5 elections) and this includes constituencies like Krishnagiri, Vellore, Arakonam and Sriperumdur. While ADMK bastions include Salem, Tiruppur, Thiruvannamalai and Dharmapuri. It does not add much value spending campaigning resources on these areas, the only way the BJP can gain traction in these areas are by suitable pre poll alliances.
What is more important to BJP are regions marked in yellow where the voters have never really fixed and voted for one party in a majoritarian fashion which we typically call as swing seats. We can find that important regions like Nammakal, Arani, Kancheepuram fall into this category and the BJP south wing should focus their limited resources in influencing voter base into this area to look at a different kind of an alternative and believing that their vote could actually count to make a change. Other constituencies where biparty swing is seen include Dindigul, Erode. Virudunagar, Tiruvannamalai, Theni , SIvaganaga, and Nagercoil.
During the 2014 elections when the DMK was trounced because of 2g corruption charges looming over their head, ADMK was the natural alternative because people did not believe a vote for BJP would actually count in making a change. Despite this, there was a surprise thrown in Kanniyakumari where a strong leader like Pon Radhakrishnan won the seat by more than a lakh of votes, when we try make sense into this we can see that both the lok sabha results and assembly election results of the past 5 years support this trend. Kanniyakumari has always been a region open to change and voting generously for parties other than DMK and the AIADMK. This year might be the start where more constituencies fall into this bracket, but BJP should be the first mover to capitalize this or would lose the plot forever.