2024 Lok Sabha Election Results LIVE: BJP's '400 Paar' Hits Tamil Nadu Challenge, History Beckons In Kerala

The BJP's last win in Tamil Nadu came in 2014 when Pon Radhakrishnan claimed Kanniyakumari; by 2019 its vote share had dropped from over five per cent to 3.66.

2024 Lok Sabha Election Results LIVE: BJP's '400 Paar' Hits Tamil Nadu Challenge, History Beckons In Kerala
New Delhi:

The BJP is drawing a blank (so far) in the race for the 39 Lok Sabha seats in Tamil Nadu - a state in which it usually struggles and has won only one seat in the past two polls. Its sole win came in 2014 when Pon Radhakrishnan claimed Kanniyakumari. By 2019 its vote share dropped to 3.66 per cent.

The party-led National Democratic Alliance is not doing any better; the Pattali Makkal Katchi was leading in one seat - Sowmiya Anbumani was ahead in Dharmapuri, but the DMK's A Mani fought back to win by over 21,000 votes. Dharmapuri is the bastion of PMK founder S Ramadoss.

The opposition's alliance - fronted by the ruling DMK - is set to sweep all 39 seats.

NDTV LIVE COVERAGE | 2024 Lok Sabha Election Results Latest

Of these the DMK has won five and is ahead in 17. The Congress has won one and leads in eight.

The CPI and CPIM have each won one and are leading in one more each.

The Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam has won one seat also.

The Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi is set to win two and the Indian Union Muslim League one.

At the national level the DMK is also part of the Congress-led INDIA bloc, which was formed in June last year to stop Prime Minister Narendra Modi from claiming a third consecutive term.

2024 Tamil Nadu Lok Sabha Election: What Exit Polls Said

In Tamil Nadu, exit polls had given three to five seats for the NDA and 34 for the INDIA group.

The AIADMK - which was allied with the BJP for the 2019 election but walked out of the NDA last year, after a row with the saffron party's state boss, K Annamalai - is not likely to win any seats.

In 2019 the DMK-led Congress all but swept the state, winning 38 seats. The outlier was Theni, which was won by the AIADMK's P Ravindhranath. This time around, however, Theni is set to vote for the DMK; Thanga Tamilselvan has a lead of over 2.8 lakh votes over the AMMK's TTV Dhinakaran.

This time in Tamil Nadu, without the AIADMK, the BJP has cobbled together a coalition with nine regional parties, including the PMK that is contesting 10 seats. Other NDA members in Tamil Nadu this election include the Tamil Maanila Congress and the Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam.

Former Chief Minister O Panneerselvam is also with the NDA; the ex-AIADMK leader is contesting Ramanathapuram an independent candidate with BJP backing.

BJP To Open Account in Kerala

Meanwhile, in neighbouring Kerala the BJP is on course to make history by winning a Lok Sabha seat for the first time. In fact, the party could break its long-standing duck with by winning the Thrissur seat.

The BJP's Suresh Gopi was nearly 75,000 votes in the lead in Thrissur.

In another high-profile contest, the Congress' Shashi Tharoor fought back to defeat Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar by around 15,000 votes in the race for Thiruvananthapuram.

READ | In Kerala, Tharoor Defeats Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Becomes 4-Time MP

Exit polls had predicted the BJP will record a stunning first in Kerala.

Exit polls also said the Congress-led UDF, which also rolls up under the INDIA bloc, would win 16 seats, and the Left front, which is in power in the state, would win just three seats.

In 2019 the Congress swept the state with 15 wins. The IUML won two seats, and the Revolutionary Socialist Party and the Kerala Congress won one seat each to propel the UDF to 19 overall.

BJP's 'Mission South'

The southern states are crucial for the BJP in its race to win 370 seats (on its own) and 400 with its NDA partners. These states - including Puducherry - send 130 MPs to the Lok Sabha.

READ | Southern States Hold Key In BJP's 400+ Seats Race

In 2019 the BJP got only 29 from the south; 25 from Karnataka and four from Telangana.

Exit polls for this election said the party would get 53 seats - a massive boost and one that was predicted to help push Mr Modi's outfit past its internal target of 370, if not hit the 400-mark.

The results so far, however, have mixed.

The great news is, of course, Kerala. The good is Telangana, where the BJP will double its tally to eight. The not-so-good is Andhra Pradesh - on course to win 21 seats the BJP is now ahead only in three.

The bad is a second straight whitewash in Tamil Nadu.

Can BJP Produce "Best-Ever Showing"?

The BJP's poor showing in Tamil Nadu - relative to confident estimates by Home Minister Amit Shah to NDTV - is despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi making multiple visits before polling on April 19.

In April Mr Shah told NDTV the BJP - which has set itself the ambitious 'abki baar, 400 paar' target - expected a "best-ever showing" from five southern states, from which it needs at least 30 seats.

Amit Shah To NDTV | "PM's Popularity Will Lead To Our Best Showing In South..."

"This time, from the south, I feel it will be our best-ever showing. Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana... and Karnataka. In these states we will have a strong result. For the first time in South India, Prime Minister Modi's popularity has grown so that we can get votes and seats."

2024 Lok Sabha Election: What Exit Polls Said

Two of 12 exit pollsters - India Today-Axis My India and India TV-CNX - believe the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance could amass as much as 401 seats. A third - News24-Today's Chanakya - says it will land on the 400-seat mark, and three others - ABP News-C Voter, Jan Ki Baat, and News Nation - give Mr Modi's election-winning juggernaut a maximum of 383, 392, and 378 seats.

READ | PM Modi Hat-Trick, Powered By South, Bengal, Odisha: Exit Polls

The BJP coalition is not expected to go below 281 in the race to win 272 seats.

The INDIA bloc - seen by many as a ragtag bunch of opposition parties - laughed off the predictions and vowed it will do what it set out to in June last year - defeat Prime Minister Modi and the BJP.

Congress boss Mallikarjun Kharge and Rahul Gandhi have insisted the group will win 295 seats.

The available exit poll data disagrees, although four give the bloc 150+ seats.

READ | Verdict On BJP's '400 Paar' Today. Can Party Repeat Congress Feat?

TV9 Bharatvarsh-Polstrat, Times Now-ETG, and Republic TV-P Marq say the INDIA group will win 166, 152, and 154 seats, while News Nation and ABP News-C Voter predict hauls between 152 and 182.

India News-D Dynamics and News 24-Today's Chanakya are far less sanguine, predicting 125 and 107 seats only, while the others believe INDIA will score between 109 and 166 seats.

The BJP is, it therefore seems, well on its way to scoring 370 seats (the internal target), and is closer than many expected to the 'abki baar, 400 paar' target that includes its NDA partners' success.

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