Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly election, 1991

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Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly election, 1991
← 1989 24 June 1991 1996 →

All 234 seats in the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly
  First party Second party
  Flag of AIADMK.svg Flag DMK.svg
Leader J. Jayalalithaa M. Karunanidhi
Alliance INC+ NF
Leader's seat Bargur Harbour
Seats won 225 7
Seat change Increase172 Decrease164
Popular vote 14,738,042 7,405,935
Percentage 59.79% 30.05%

1991 tamil nadu legislative election map.png
1991 election map (by constituencies)

Chief Minister before election

M. Karunanidhi

Chief Minister

J. Jayalalithaa

The tenth legislative assembly election of Tamil Nadu was held on 24 June 1991. The Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (ADMK) – Indian National Congress (INC) alliance won the elections in a landslide and ADMK leader J. Jayalalithaa became the chief minister. This was her first term in office. The united strength of ADMK (after the merger of Jayalalitha and Janaki Ramachandran factions into a single party), the alliance with the Congress and the wave of public sympathy in the wake of Rajiv Gandhi assassination combined together to produce a massive victory for the ADMK. The M. Karunanidhi led Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) was hurt by the public perception that it had close ties with LTTE (which was behind the Rajiv Gandhi assassination) and was routed in the elections winning only 2 out of the 234 seats.


President's rule[edit]

On 30 January 1991, the DMK government which had come to power after winning the 1989, was dismissed by the Indian Prime minister Chandra Shekhar using Article 356 of the Indian Constitution. President's rule was imposed on Tamil Nadu from 31 January. The reason cited for the dismissal was the deterioration of law and order in the state and the DMK's alleged closeness to the LTTE. The union law minister Subramanian Swamy, cited (among others) the assassination of the Eelam People's Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF) office bearers in Chennai on 19 June 1990 by the LTTE as the proof of collusion between the DMK government and the LTTE. The Samajwadi Janata Party government of Chandra Shekhar at the centre was dependent on the outside support of Rajiv Gandhi's Congress, which in turn was an ally of the ADMK in Tamil Nadu. The dismissal followed pressure on the Chandra Shekhar government by the Congress and ADMK to dismiss the DMK government. The Chandra Shekhar government fell on March 1991 after the Congress withdrew its outside support. Fresh elections for both the Indian parliament and Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly were scheduled for June 1991.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7]

Unification of ADMK[edit]

The ADMK which had contested and lost the 1989 elections as two different factions reunited under the leadership of Jayalalitha in February 1989. The Janaki Ramachandran faction merged with the Jayalalitha faction to form a single united party and Janaki retired from politics. The reunited party regained the popular "Two Leaves" symbol of the ADMK. (The Election Commission of India had frozen the symbol for the 1989 elections due to the split). The united ADMK was able to prove its strength immediately by winning the elections held for two constituencies -Marungapuri and Madurai East on 11 March 1989. (for these two constituencies elections had been postponed earlier due to technical reasons).The ADMK then allied with the Congress for the 1989 Parliamentary elections. The ADMK-Congress alliance won 38 of the 39 Lok Sabha seats in that election routing the DMK-Janata Dal led National Front.[8][9]

Formation of PMK[edit]

The 1991 elections was the first state elections contested by the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), a Vanniyar caste based party. S. Ramadoss, the leader of the Vanniyar caste organisation – the Vanniyar Sangam converted into a political party and entered electoral politics with the 1989 parliamentary elections. The emergence of PMK cut into the DMK's political base in the northern districts of Tamil Nadu.[6][10]

Formation of TMK[edit]

In 1991, the Thayaga Marumalarchi Kazhagam (TMK) was formed by the actor-politician Vijaya T. Rajendar after he split from the DMK. Later, some of the second rung leaders of the ADMK including Su. Thirunavukkarasar, K. K. S. S. R. Ramachandran, S. D. Ugamchand, V. R. Karuppasamy Pandian split from the party. For the 1991 elections they formed a pact with T. Rajendar and contested as TMK candidates.[11][12][13]

Assassination of Rajiv Gandhi[edit]

On 21 May 1991, leader of the Indian National Congress and its prime ministerial candidate for the 1991 general elections was assassinated by a LTTE suicide bomber. The assassination took place at a campaign meeting at Sriperumpudur where he was campaigning for the Congress candidate Maragatham Chandrasekar. This assassination by the LTTE in Tamil Nadu, taken along with the perceived closeness of the DMK with the LTTE resulted in a massive sympathy wave in favour of the ADMK-Congress alliance and against the DMK.[1][6]


The two main political formations in this election were the DMK and ADMK led fronts. The DMK coalition comprised the Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPM), Janata Dal (JD) and Thayaga Marumalarchi Kazhagam (TMK). The ADMK front had only two major parties – itself and the Congress. The ADMK also backed the ICS (SCS) candidate Sanjay Ramasamy in the Virudhunagar constituency. Several smaller parties like the PMK contested the elections alone.[14][15]

Seat allotments[edit]

DMK Front[edit]

Party Election Symbol Leader Seats
1. Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam M. Karunanidhi 176
2. Communist Party of India (Marxist) Nallasivam 22
3. Janata Dal Janata Dal symbol.svg Sivaji Ganesan 15
4. Thayaga Marumalarchi Kazhagam No flag.svg Vijaya T. Rajendar 11
5. Communist Party of India P.Manickam 10

AIADMK Front[edit]

Party Election Symbol Leader Seats
1. All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam J.Jayalalithaa 168
2. Indian National Congress P V Narasimha Rao 65
3. Indian Congress (Socialist) No flag.svg Sarat Chandra Sinha 1

Voting and results[edit]

The polling for the state assembly elections were held simultaneously with the polling for the 1991 Parliamentary elections on 24 June 1991. The voter turnout was 63.92%.[16][17]

Results by Pre-Poll Alliance[edit]

Election map of results based on parties. Colours are based on the results table on the left
e • d Summary of the 1991 May Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly election, 1991 results
Sources: Election Commission of India [18]
Alliance/Party Seats won Change Popular Vote Vote % Adj. %
AIADMK+ alliance 225 +172 14,738,042 59.8%
AIADMK 164 +137 10,940,966 44.4% 61.1%
INC 60 +34 3,743,859 15.2% 56.2%
ICS(SCS) 1 +1 53,217 0.2% 56.1%
DMK+ alliance 7 -164 7,405,935 30.0%
DMK 2 -148 5,535,668 22.5% 29.9%
TMK 2 -1 371,645 1.5% 31.0%
CPI(M) 1 -14 777,532 3.2% 31.2%
JD 1 +1 415,947 1.7% 28.3%
CPI 1 -2 305,143 1.2% 29.9%
Others 2 -8 2,505,431 10.2%
PMK 1 +1 1,452,982 5.9% 7.0%
JP 0 -4 51,564 0.2% 0.7%
IND 1 -5 390,227 1.6% 1.7%
Total 234 24,649,408 100%

: ICS(SCS) contested in 13 different constituencies, but only the one contested by Sanjay Ramaswamy was endorsed by AIADMK.
: Vote % reflects the percentage of votes the party received compared to the entire electorate that voted in this election. Adjusted (Adj.) Vote %, reflects the % of votes the party received per constituency that they contested.

Constituency wise results[edit]


The ADMK coalition won a massive victory in this election capturing 225 of 234 seats. The DMK coalition was routed with only 7 victories. DMK itself could win only 2 seats including that of its leader M. Karunanidhi. Though Karunanidhi won from the Harbour constituency, he resigned his seat immediately. The victory of ADMK-Congress has been attributed mainly to the sympathy wave following the Rajiv Gandhi assassination. Other factors which helped their victory were the consolidation of the ADMK votes under the unified ADMK party, successful projection by Jayalalitha as the true political heir to M. G. Ramachandran (MGR), successful portrayal of DMK as anti-woman (by playing up the events in the Assembly on 25 March 1989) and pro-LTTE and the PMK cutting into the DMK's vote bank in the northern districts. This election saw the first electoral success of the PMK, when its candidate Panruti Ramachandran was elected from the Panruti constituency.[1][6][19][20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Manivannan, R. (25 January 1992). "1991 Tamil Nadu Elections: Issues, Strategies and Performance". Economic and Political Weekly. Economic and Political Weekly. 27 (4): 164–170. JSTOR 4397536. 
  2. ^ Desikan, Shubashree (19 December 2008). "Grace under fire". Business Line. The Hindu Group. Retrieved 19 January 2010. 
  3. ^ Rajasingham, K. T. (22 January 2002). "Srilanka: The Untold Story; Chapter 45: War continues with brutality". Asia Times. Retrieved 19 January 2010. 
  4. ^ Subramanian, T. S. (14 August 1999). "SRI LANKA: Chronicle of murders". Frontline. The Hindu Group. 
  5. ^ Desikan, Shubashree (28 November 1997). "THE Jain Commission : A political agenda". Frontline. The Hindu Group. Retrieved 19 January 2010. 
  6. ^ a b c d Suresh, V. (17 October 1992). "The DMK Debacle: Causes and Portents". Economic and Political Weekly. Economic and Political Weekly. 27 (42): 2313–2321. JSTOR 4399030. 
  7. ^ Jain, Sumitra Kumar (1994). Party politics and centre-state relations in India. Abhinav Publications. p. 160. ISBN 81-7017-309-4, ISBN 978-81-7017-309-0. 
  8. ^ Ganesan, P. C. (1996). Daughter of the South: biography of Jayalalitha. Sterling Publishers. p. 57. ISBN 81-207-1879-8, ISBN 978-81-207-1879-1. 
  9. ^ The Journal of parliamentary information, Volume 35. Lok Sabha Secretariat. 1996. p. 228. 
  10. ^ Dorairaj, S (7 April 2009). "Can PMK convert support base into votes in TN?". Business Line. Retrieved 2010-01-18. 
  11. ^ Subramanian, T. S. (7 October 2005). "Another actor in politics". Frontline. The Hindu Group. Retrieved 20 January 2010. 
  12. ^ Subramanian, T. S. (30 July 2004). "The celluloid connection". Frontline. The Hindu Group. Retrieved 20 January 2010. 
  13. ^ "Resume of Business, Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly, IX Assembly, VI Session (18–25 January 1991)" (PDF). Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly Secretariat. Retrieved 20 January 2010. 
  14. ^ 1991 Tamil Nadu Election Results, Election Commission of India accessed 19 April 2009
  15. ^ Arun, K. N. (18 January 2009). "Integrity of judiciary put to test again". Indian Express. Retrieved 20 January 2010. 
  16. ^ "Polling Percentage – Statewise (1991)". CNN-IBN. Retrieved 20 January 2010. 
  17. ^ Nambath, Suresh (9 May 2006). "What does high turnout mean?". The Hindu. The Hindu Group. Retrieved 20 January 2010. 
  18. ^ ECI: 1991 Election Statistical Report
  19. ^ "Member Profile : M. Karunanidhi". Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly Secretariat. Retrieved 20 January 2010. 
  20. ^ "The Revenge Of Draupadi". Outlook. 4 May 1998. Retrieved 20 January 2010. 

External links[edit]