Pattali Makkal Katchi, who fought the 2021 Assembly election in alliance with AIADMK, reversed his electoral fortunes and established leaders in Pennagaram (9,890 votes), Dharmapuri (15,852 votes), Salem West (13,218 votes) ) and Mailam (780 votes), while fighting a close contest at Jayamkondan and Vridhachalam in a swing battle on Sunday, as of going to press.
According to the ECI website, until 8 p.m. PMK won 3.84% of the vote, competing in 23 constituencies. Party founder S. Ramadoss and youth leader Anbumani Ramadoss had yet to make an official statement.
The main party office official, Vadivel Ravanan, fought in Kilvelur. The possible victories, even if they are part of a losing alliance, will be a huge relief for the party as its electoral fortunes dwindle.
Party sources predictably attribute a good measure of success to the internal reservation of 10.5% for the Vanniyars in the backward class quota adopted by the AIADMK government. Party leaders say the move galvanized the Vanniyars and led them to vote en bloc in the AIADMK-PMK alliance.
While the PMK won three seats in the 2011 Assembly elections, it did not win even a single seat in the 2016 poll.
The party won Dharmapuri Lok Sabha’s parliamentary seat in 2014 as part of the NDA, but was unable to win a single Lok Sabha seat in 2019 in the same alliance. In this context, the measured success of the PMK this election is gaining in importance.
Party sources said AIADMK’s performance in the northern and western districts was mainly due to the transfer of PMK votes. Interestingly, the consolidation could not be seen uniformly across the northern districts. For example, in Tiruvannamalai district, which also has a large Vanniyar population, the DMK had established a clear advantage in four of the six seats. Even in the Assembly constituencies of Arcot and Sholingar, consolidation has not worked in favor of the PMK-AIADMK alliance and it will take further analysis to understand why and where it worked.
Although disappointed with the outcome, many party members felt that Dr S. Ramadoss’ decision to require a reservation for Vanniyars enhanced his image in the community and helped increase political capital.