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'Voters don't see a need for change in TN'

By Shobha Warrier in Chennai
Last updated on: April 19, 2006 18:11 IST
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Prior to all elections in Tamil Nadu, Thuglaq, the political magazine edited by noted analyst Cho Ramaswamy sends its reporters all around Tamil Nadu for a survey. The results are always eagerly awaited in the state.

In this interview, Cho Ramaswamy talks about the findings of the survey. He says his surveys have been accurate almost all the time.

Advantage Jayalalithaa in TN: Poll survey

Now that the leaders of both the fronts have started campaigning, how do you assess their chances?

I think the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham has an edge over the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham.

Is it a slight edge?

I wouldn't call it a slight edge. The Hindu seems to find that the results may go either way as the edge that the AIADMK has is too flimsy to be relied upon. Our reporters also have gone around 100 constituencies in the state. But we don't have any statistical method or any scientific basis for all this. Our reporters just talk to people and get their feedback. We have been doing this all along, and most of the time, we have been right.

What we have found out is, the AIADMK front will get around 60 percent of the seats, and the DMK front may get the rest.

I am waiting to see which is right!

Complete coverage: The Tamil Nadu assembly election

Do you see any positive wave for Jayalalithaa?

Yes, that is what is working in her favour. That is, people are happy with the government. The attitude of the people is that there is no necessity for a change. People are happy with tsunami relief, flood relief, the free cycle scheme (for junior college students).

Are women more supportive of her because of her initiatives like the self help groups for women?

Actually our reporters did not meet enough women, and women are generally supposed to vote for the AIADMK. So, I feel the margin will increase.

We also differ with the Hindu poll about Vijayakanth. We find that he will poll more percentage of votes than what The Hindu says. The Hindu gives him 5 percent but we feel that he may get around 10-15 percent.

Do you see Vijayakanth creating any wave?

Not a wave but he is getting substantial support.

Did your reporters see any change in the pattern in the different areas of Tamil Nadu?

They saw the same pattern everywhere. Three teams of our reporters went separately to various parts of Tamil Nadu and what they found was almost similar; that people do not see any need to change the government.

How much do large crowds translate to votes?

Crowds gather for everybody. It is not a true indication of the voting pattern.

Arithmetically, the DMK front is stronger, isn't it so?

The Congress, the Pattali Makkal Katchi and the Communists could be expected by the previous polling records to contribute 15-20 percent to the DMK alliance. So, arithmetically they are far superior to what Jayalalitha has because her front has only Vaiko who would contribute about 5 percent and Thirumalvalavan, maybe 1 or 2 percent. So, arithmetically the DMK front is very strong. If we just go by adding the percentage of votes of each party, the DMk should sweep the polls as they did in the Parliamentary elections.

But one thing we have to take into consideration is, Tamil Nadu has been voting for the Congress or whichever alliance the Congress is with for the Lok Sabha elections. But in the assembly elections, they vote differently. They have been voting for the party which they want to rule for five years. That way, we find that people feel there is no need for a change as Jayalalithaa is doing quite well.

What kind of impact will Vaiko's presence have on the AIADMK front?

Not much of an impact but psychologically, the DMK suffered a setback because it was proved to be a vulnerable alliance.

Karunanidhi has started his campaign only now. What kind of change will it create?

It remains to be seen.

Complete coverage: Assembly elections 2006

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Shobha Warrier in Chennai