- Believe Rahul Gandhi will be PM, DMK will win, MK Stalin said
- Exit polls have favoured the DMK-Congress alliance in Tamil Nadu
- Counting taking place for 38 Lok Sabha seats in Tamil Nadu today
Just before counting began for the national election, DMK chief MK Stalin reiterated that he believed Congress president Rahul Gandhi would become Prime Minister and his own party would capture power in Tamil Nadu. The DMK has come out openly in support of the Congress and its chief underscored that this morning.
Counting of votes is underway for 38 Lok Sabha seats in Tamil Nadu - the election to Vellore was cancelled after a huge amount of cash was seized - and for 22 assembly seats where bypolls were held. The assembly bypoll results can decide the future of the E Palaniswami-led AIADMK government in the state. AIADMK needs to win a significant number of seats to stay in power, with rebel leader TTV Dhinakaran challenging it on many seats.
The DMK is banking on the by-elections for a shot at capturing power in the state. The party, along with its allies, including Congress, has 97 lawmakers in the 234-member assembly against the AIADMK's 114. The simple majority in the full house is 117.
Exit polls have favoured the DMK-Congress combine in the state and have forecast a grim picture for the AIADMK, which has an alliance with the ruling BJP.
But Mr Stalin dismissed the exit polls, which have predicted that the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance will return to power at the centre with a comfortable majority. "The credibility of exit polls is a suspect. In Kancheepuram, an exit poll has taken into account a rejected candidate," he said.
Mr Stalin's sister M Kanimozhi, a national election candidate, echoed: "We don't take exit polls into consideration."
But unlike him, she was more circumspect about the national picture. "People are above everything. We've done our best," said the DMK leader.
Asked about Mr Stalin's support for Rahul Gandhi for the top job, she said: "Let's wait for the results."