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The counting of 234-member Legislative Assembly in Tamil Nadu began at 8 am on Sunday with strict COVID protocol. While both the Dravidian parties — DMK and AIADMK — fought the elections following a bitter poll campaign, exit polls gave the DMK and its chief MK Stalin an edge. This means the DMK could return to power after a decade. While the AIADMK is in alliance with the BJP, the DMK has formed an alliance with Congress. While these two alliances are the top contenders, added to the mix was Kamal Haasan’s Makkal Needhi Maiam. Like in West Bengal, the BJP has also looked to make inroads in Tamil Nadu.

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These were also the first elections fought in years without the two party stalwarts and arch-rivals J Jayalalithaa and M Karunanidhi. Polling for the State was held on April 6. In 2016, the AIADMK won 136 seats and the DMK won 89 of the 178 constituencies it contested. DMK ally, the Congress, won eight seats, while the Indian Union Muslim League (another partner in the DMK’s coalition) won one seat. While till 2016, Tamil Nadu has always voted for a change in government, in 2016 Jayalalithaa managed to stay in power for a second term.