Chennai: AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa on Thursday thanked the people of Tamil Nadu for helping her party secure a 'historic win', citing that no party in the state had won for a consecutive term since 1984.
"I thank the people of Tamil Nadu for continuing to place their faith in me. There are not enough words in the dictionary to express my feelings of gratitude," said the chief minister while addressing a press conference.
AIADMK is set to come back to power in Tamil Nadu as trends showed Jaya's party leading in 123 seats out of 234. While early numbers gave an edge to DMK, AIADMK soon surged ahead but will be facing stiff opposition from Karunanidhi's party which is pegged to win over a 100 constituencies.
Jayalalithaa was leading by over 16,000 votes in Dr RK Nagar constituency, forging ahead of her DMK rival Shimla Muthchozhan.
This year's assembly elections see Jaya bucking the trend of alternative governments coming to power in the state. It would be the first time that a politician is going to be chief minister in the state for a consecutive term in nearly three decades.
Jaya's mentor and AIADMK founder M G Ramachandran was the only leader before her who had achieved the feat of successively winning polls (1977-87) in Tamil Nadu and after that no other party managed to repeat the same.
Captain Vijayakanth, thought of as the swing factor before polls, continued to trail in Ulundurpet assembly constituency and the 'Third Front' led by him failed to breach AIADMK bastions. PMK chief Ramadoss who decided to go solo this time was also trailing in his constituency.
The DMK-Congress alliance was tipped to win by some exit polls, but the grand old party mired in corruption scandals failed to win back voters and lost ground as AIADMK made inroads into some of their traditional strongholds.
3.40 pm: DMK President M Karunanidhi wins the Thiruvarur constituency with a margin of 68,366 votes. The nonagenarian bagged 1,21,473 votes and defeated AIADMK nominee R Pannerselvam.
2 pm: Jayalalithaa addressed a press conference to thank people of Tamil Nadu for giving her party the winning mandate in the state.
"I will forever be indebted to the people of Tamil Nadu who have reposed full faith on me and by making AIADMK emerge victorious in a big way," she said.
Attacking her rival DMK, she said, "This election has upheld true democracy shattering to pieces the campaign of lies of DMK. This election has put a permanent full stop to the family rule."
1 pm: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu congratulated his counterpart Jayalalithaa over her victory in the assembly elections.
"Congratulations and best wishes to Jayalalithaa garu for a fantastic win in TN elections. Best wishes for winning the people's mandate," Chandrababu said in a tweet.
12 pm: DMK chief M Karunanidhi is leading by 29,372 votes over AIADMK's A N R Paneerselvam in Tiruvarur constituency. His party DMK too made more gains and was ahead in 100 seats while AIADMK was leading in 126 seats.
11.30 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he called up Jayalalitha to congratulate on her victory.
"Had a telephone conversation with Jayalalithaa ji and congratulated her on her victory. Also conveyed my best wishes to her," the Prime Minister tweeted from his official account.
10.30 am: Celebrations echoed loud at the AIADMK's headquarters in Chennai, as party workers and supporters distributed sweets and chanted Jayalaltihaa's name.
Jaya addressed party workers through a large television screen that was placed outside the office and promised to make good the promises she made during the election commission.
"Every waking hour, it will be my attempt to strive and make schemes for the betterment and benefit of Tamil Nadu," Jaya said.
10.20 am: The DMK bettered its tally and emerged as leading in 90 seats while AIADMK's numbers went down in a few seats, pushing the party from leading in 136 seats to 129 seats. Ramadoss-led PMK that decided to ditch alliances this year and go along made gains in 6 seats.
9.40 am: Jayalalithaa's party crossed the magical mark of 118 needed for majority in the state. The figures including postal votes show AIADMK leading in 129 seats, DMK in 70 but even without the postal votes, Jaya's party is leading in 121 seats.
PMK which is led by former union minister Anbumani Ramadoss opened its account with lead in two seats.
9.20 am: Jayalalithaa's decision to go solo is paying off and her party is leading in 84 seats while DMK is ahead in 66 seats.
The ‘Third Front’ led by DMDK’s Captain Vijayakanth could not make inroads anywhere. The actor turned politician who was being touted by some analysts as a ‘game-changer’, who could change the political equations in the state was trailing in his constituency.
9.02 am: AIADMK bucked early trends to take lead in 64 seats, DMK in 45 seats.
Jaya's party is comfortably ahead and is doing really well in urban areas. The party made its presence felt in North Tamil Nadu which is considered Karunanidhi's stronghold. With BJP still leading in one seat and other parties failing to register any lead, it is clearly a fierce two-way battle between the Dravidian heavyweights AIADMK and DMK.
8.50 am: As estimated, it is turning out to be a close contest in Tamil Nadu as AIADMK and DMK were neck-and-neck with both parties leading in 21 seats each.
8.45 am: While early trends may have given Karunanidhi a reason to smile, AIADMK soon overtook the party and made gains in 16 seats, while DMK trailed with 14. BJP opened its account with one lead.
8.30 am: Karunanidhi's DMK was the first to open its account with two gains as early trends started pouring in. Minutes later, Jayalalithaa's AIADMK took lead in one seat. The DMDK, BJP and other parties are yet to open their account.
The final results are expected to be out only around noon. If the victory margin of a candidate is less than the total number of postal ballots, the postal ballots polled will be taken up for counting again. By afternoon, a clear picture would emerge on which party will form the next government in Tamil Nadu.
Let us take a look at the exit poll predictions:
Exit polls released on Monday contradicted each other with 4 of them predicting a DMK win, while one survey said the AIADMK was ahead. Another exit poll conducted by Thanthi TV projected the AIADMK emerging as the single largest party though it showed DMK making last-minute gains.
C-Voter, Times Now: This poll predicts 139 seats for AIADMK, 78 for DMK+, 0 for BJP and 17 for others.
India Today-Axis: This poll predicts 89-101 for AIADMK, 124-140 for DMK+, 0-3 for BJP and 4-8 for others.
News Nation: This poll forecasts 95-99 for AIADMK, 114-118 for DMK+, 14 for DMDK+, 4 for BJP and 9 for others.
In Tamil Nadu, the AIADMK alliance won an absolute majority in 2011, sweeping to power winning 203 seats out of 234, while the DMK alliance which included DMK, Congress and other regional parties could muster just 31. The BJP did not open its account....