Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly election, 1996

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Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly election, 1996
← 1991 2 May 1996 2001 →

All 234 seats in the Legislature of Tamil Nadu
  First party Second party
  Flag DMK.svg Flag of AIADMK.svg
Leader M. Karunanidhi J. Jayalalithaa
Alliance UF INC+
Leader's seat Chepauk Bargur
Seats won 221 4
Seat change Increase219 Decrease216
Popular vote 14,600,748 7,354,723
Percentage 53.77% 27.08%
Swing Increase23.72% Decrease32.71%

1996 tamil nadu legislative election map.png
1996 election map (by constituencies)

Chief Minister before election

J. Jayalalithaa

Chief Minister

M. Karunanidhi

The eleventh legislative assembly election of Tamil Nadu was held on 2 May 1996. The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) led front won the election and its leader M. Karunanidhi, became the chief minister.This was his fourth term in office. S.Balakrishnan, also known as So.Balakrishnan, of Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC) became the Leader of the Opposition.[1] The incumbent Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (ADMK) government was defeated in a landslide with its leader and outgoing chief minister J. Jayalalitha losing the election from the Bargur constituency.



The J. Jayalalithaa led Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (ADMK) government, which had been in power since 1991 was beset with corruption scandals and public discontent. A series of corruption scandals, a growing reputation for high handedness and an extravagant public wedding for Jayalalitha's foster son Sudhakaran all combined together to erode the ADMK support base and the goodwill she had enjoyed with the electorate in the 1991 elections.[2][3][4]

Formation of TMC[edit]

The ADMK's alliance with Indian National Congress (INC), which had helped it to win the 1991 elections ran into trouble mid way through the ADMK's term. Jayalalitha terminated the alliance and Congress served as the principal opposition party in the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly. When the 1996 elections drew closer, it was expected that the Congress would contest the elections in alliance with the DMK. However against the wishes of the Tamil Nadu state unit of the Congress, the national congress leader (and then Indian prime minister) P. V. Narasimha Rao announced that the Congress would ally with the ADMK. This led to a split in the Tamil Nadu Congress with a majority of the party workers and cadre forming the Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC) led by G. K. Moopanar. The TMC contested the elections in alliance with the DMK.[5][6]

Formation of MDMK[edit]

In 1993, the DMK suffered a split when one of its more prominent second rung leaders, Vaiko was expelled from the party membership. The next year Vaiko floated a new party - the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK).[7][8]


There were four main coalitions in the 1996 elections. The DMK-TMC front which also included the Communist Party of India (CPI) and the ADMK-Congress front were the main political groupings in the state. Both fronts had a number of smaller parties as constituents. The Indian National League and the All India Forward Bloc were part of the DMK front, while the ADMK front also had Muslim Leagues, Forward Block, All India Republic Party, Uzhavar Uzhaippalar Katchi and United Communist Party. Apart from these two fronts, there was a MDMK led coalition which included the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPM), the Janata Dal (JD) and the Samajwadi Janata Party (SJP). The alliance between Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) and All India Indira Congress (Tiwari) (Tiwari Congress) led by Vazhappady Ramamurthy was the fourth coalition that contested the elections. Initially, before the TMC was formed, the DMK put together a seven party alliance comprising itself, PMK, CPI, Tiwari Congress and a few other parties. However, this alliance fell through when the Tiwari Congress and PMK left the front after differences between Karunanidhi and Ramamurthy. After this, Cho Ramaswamy (editor of Thuglak) played a vital role in bringing together the DMK-TMC coalition and obtaining actor Rajinikanth's support for it.[9][10] There were a few other smaller political formations and parties contesting the election - the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) contested the elections alone; Subramanian Swamy's Janata Party contested in alliance with the caste organisation Devendra Kula Vellar Sangam led by Dalit leader K. Krishnasamy.[6][11][12][13][14]

Rajinikanth's support[edit]

The DMK-TMC alliance enlisted the popular Tamil film actor Rajinikanth to campaign against the ADMK in the elections. Rajinikanth declared his support for the DMK-TMC combine and members of his numerous fan clubs campaigned for the DMK front across Tamil Nadu. In a widely watched campaign appearance broadcast in Sun TV, he declared "even God cannot save Tamil Nadu if ADMK returns to power". Rajinikanth's support played a key role in the DMK front's victory.[15][16][17]

Seat allotments[edit]

AIADMK-INC Front[edit]

No. Party Election Symbol Leader Seats
1. All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam J.Jayalalithaa 168
2. Indian National Congress Kumari Anandan 64

DMK-TMC Front[edit]

Party Election Symbol Leader Seats
1. Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam M. Karunanidhi 156
2. Tamil Maanila Congress G.K. Moopanar 41
3. Communist Party of India R.Nallakannu 31
4. All India Forward Bloc No flag.svg 1
Unregistered party, whose candidates ran under the DMK ticket
5. Indian National League Janab 5

MDMK-CPI(M) Front[edit]

Party Election Symbol Leader Seats
1. Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam Vaiko 177
2. Communist Party of India (Marxist) N.Sankaraiah 40
3. Janata Dal No flag.svg 16

PMK-Tiwari Congress Front[edit]

Party Election Symbol Leader Seats
1. Pattali Makkal Katchi Dr. Ramdoss 116
2. All India Indira Congress (Tiwari) No flag.svg Vazhappady Ramamurthy 46

Voting and Results[edit]

Polling took place on 2 May 1996 and results were announced on 12 May. The turnout among registered voters was 66.95%. The assembly elections were held simultaneously along with the Indian parliamentary elections.

Constituency wise results[edit]


ADMK suffered a rout in the elections. Most of sitting ministers of the ADMK government, including the chief minister Jayalalithaa lost their seats. Jayalalitha lost to DMK's E. G. Sugavanam by a margin of 8,366 votes in the Bargur constituency. A year after the election, the ADMK split, when a faction led by the Arantaki MLA Su. Thirunavukkarasar broke away from the party. The MDMK which was contesting its first statewide elections since its formation in 1994 drew a blank. MDMK leader Vaiko was defeated in both the Vilathikulam assembly constituency and the Sivakasi parliamentary constituency. This election also saw the PMK electing four members to the assembly. The massive victory of the DMK-TMC-CPI combine in the assembly elections spilled over to the parliamentary elections. The coalition was able to win all 39 parliamentary seats in Tamil Nadu and the lone parliamentary seat in the nearby Pondicherry. This tally of 40 seats enabled the DMK-TMC combine to be part of the United Front government during 1996-98.[2][12][13][18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.assembly.tn.gov.in/archive/Resumes/11assly/11_01.pdf
  2. ^ a b Bhagat, Rasheeda (4 April 2001). "Advantage Jayalalitha?". Business Line. Retrieved 2010-01-18. 
  3. ^ Panneerselvan, A. S. (28 May 2001). "JJ & Her Technicolor Cape". Outlook. Retrieved 2010-01-18. 
  4. ^ Ram, Arun. (25 June 2001). "Fostering Ill-will". India Today. Archived from the original on February 11, 2009. Retrieved 2010-01-18. 
  5. ^ Subramanian, T. S. (15 September 2001). "Crusading Congressman". Frontline. Retrieved 2010-01-18. 
  6. ^ a b Palanithurai, Ganapathy (1998). Perception of grass root democracy and political performance. M.D. Publications. pp. 169–180. ISBN 978-81-7533-068-9. 
  7. ^ Subramanian, T. S. (14 August 1999). "Hurdles in Tamil Nadu". Frontline. Retrieved 2010-01-18. 
  8. ^ Menon, Jaya (17 March 2007). "Vaiko’s MDMK formally snaps ties with UPA". Indian Express. Retrieved 2010-01-18. 
  9. ^ ""Nenjukku Neethi" resumes". The Hindu. 5 May 2008. Retrieved 2010-01-21. 
  10. ^ Anand, S. (15 April 2002). "A Dash Of Saffron In His Broth". Outlook. Retrieved 2010-01-18. 
  11. ^ Vimalkumar, R. (19 April 2006). "It remains backward despite having scope". The Hindu. Retrieved 2010-01-18. 
  12. ^ a b Vinoj Kumar, P. C (18 January 2010). "Will Wit’s Warhorse Win ?". Tehelka. Retrieved 2010-01-18. 
  13. ^ a b Dorairaj, S (7 April 2009). "Can PMK convert support base into votes in TN?". Business Line. Archived from the original on April 12, 2009. Retrieved 2010-01-18. 
  14. ^ Subramanian, T. S. (21 March 1998). "Messages from the States". Frontline. Retrieved 2010-01-18. 
  15. ^ Ethiraj, Gopal (14 December 2009). "Sunday Celebrity: Rajini is simple, stylish, spiritual, that explains his uniqueness". Asian Tribune. Retrieved 2010-01-18. 
  16. ^ Anand, S. (26 August 2002). "Bhagwan Rajni". Outlook. Retrieved 2010-01-18. 
  17. ^ Panneerselvan, A. S. (8 May 1996). "Fanning Voter Passions". Outlook. Retrieved 2010-01-18. 
  18. ^ Panneerselvan, A. S. (4 June 1997). "MGR's Foot-Soldiers". Outlook. Retrieved 2010-01-18. 

External links[edit]