The AIADMK AIADMK cruised to victory in 134 of the 232 assembly seats, leaving the DMK-Congress combine with 97 seats. Almost all other parties were wiped out. An elated Jayalalithaa said: "There are not enough words in dictionary to adequately express my feelings of gratitude to the people of Tamil Nadu."
Most exit polls had predicted that the AIADMK would be unseated. There were noisy celebrations outside Jayalalithaa's residence in Chennai. Holding her portraits, supporters danced to music and burst firecrackers.
But Chennai, battered by floods in December, dumped the AIADMK. However, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa retained her Radhakrishnan Nagar constitutency trouncing her nearest DMK rival by a large margin.
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Dravidian parties hold sway in elections to Tamil Nadu, both for the assembly polls and to Lok Sabha seats in Parliament ever since the DMK stormed to Fort St George, the citadel of state power, in 1967 and the party founder cum ideologue C.N. Annadurai became the Chief Minister.
Since Independence, Tamil Nadu has conducted 14 assembly elections and 15 Lok Sabha polls. While the state legislature has 234 seats (or constituencies), it has 39 Lok Sabha constituencies, that is, the number of MPs who represent the state at Parliament in Delhi in the Lower House.
For the Rajya Sabha or the Upper House of Parliament, the state legislator elects 18 members through an "indirect process".
Tamil Nadu politics is dominated by Dravidian parties and in a way, electoral battle lines are drawn between the two main political fronts - DMK and AIADMK - and other parties including the Congress, BJP, Left Front, other regional parties like PMK and DMDK align with either one of these main players as the third alternative front is yet to emerge in Tamil Nadu.
Also, either DMK or AIADMK extend its support (either as part of the government or from outside) to the Central government in Delhi depending upon the prevailing situation in national politics.
Created in 1685, the Madras Presidency was administered by a President who was advised by an executive council for administering this vast province which comprised the present day regions of Tamil Nadu, parts of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and the entire Kerala.
The Indian Councils Act 1861 brought in the legislative council to the Madras Presidency and its members were all nominated.
In November 1920, as part of the Montagu-Chelmsford reforms, the structure of the legislative council was modified with the inclusion of elected members and the first elections were held in December 1920.
From 1920 till independence in 1947, regular elections were conducted in an interval of three years, except during the World War-II period.
Initially, the electorate was limited to zamindars, district board chairmen, rich and influential people in the Madras Presidency.
In 1935, the electorate was enlarged by the Government of India Act 1935. In 1952, the electorate was finally large enough to cover all legal citizens of the province over the age of 21.
The Justice Party won a majority in the provincial assembly in the 1920, 1923 and 1930 elections during the colonial times.
However, it formed a minority government in the 1934 elections and lost in the 1926, 1937 and 1946 elections. The assembly was dissolved in 1939 when the Congress ministry of C. Rajagopalachari resigned and no elections were held in 1940 and 1943. The Swaraj Party got the majority in the 1926 and the 1934 elections but did not form the government.
It did not contest the 1920 elections and contested and won as a part of the Indian National Congress in 1937.
The Madras state was created in 1950 as part of state reorganisation after India became republic. In 1968, the name of Madras state was changed to Tamil Nadu after a series of protests by anti-Hindi agitators and nationalists who even demanded the separation of this state from the Indian Union to form an independent nationhood.