While Tamil Nadu has been considered a sweep state by pollsters because it usually delivers decisive mandates to the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam or the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, the results this time have stunned observers. Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK has won 37 of the 39 parliamentary seats in the state while the DMK did not even open its account.

Powerful DMK leaders including former union ministers A Raja, Dayanidhi Maran and TR Baalu faced humiliating defeats, even as the Bharatiya Janata Party-led alliance, which included the Pattali Makkal Katchi and the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam, managed to win only two seats.

One reason for the sweep in favour of the AIADMK is simple electoral arithmetic. The BJP led an alliance of seven small parties, but the sum total of their vote shares never really matched up to those of the AIADMK or the DMK. In many ways, it was a non-starter. But what the BJP alliance did achieve was to split the anti-Jayalalithaa vote, leaving the DMK decimated.

Adding to this is the fact that Jayalalithaa has not faced any major controversies in her current term as chief minister, so did not have to battle a very strong anti-incumbency sentiment. Though the state faces a severe power crisis, her rivals failed to capitalise on that.

The biggest loser in the election is DMK chief M Karunanidhi's son MK Stalin. In the run up to the polls, Stalin had fought a battle with his brother and former union minister MK Azhagiri for control over the party and had ensured that Azhagiri was expelled from the party. This means that he needs to accept responsibility for the defeat. Within the party, an anti-Stalin leader who spoke to Scroll.in on condition of anonymity claimed that “the results are pathetic reflection of Stalin's abilities and strategy".

One of the key allegations against Stalin is that he refused an alliance with the Congress, which hobbled the party's chances of a better showing. Added to this was the subtle understanding between the BJP and AIADMK in the Nilgiris seat where A Raja was defeated. The nomination papers of the BJP candidate for the seat were rejected in the last minute for containing faulty details, which meant that Raja faced a direct fight with the AIADMK candidate C Gopalakrishnan. "All the BJP alliance votes went to the AIADMK and our numbers did not match up," said a key Raja aide on condition of anonymity.

On the other the hand, the AIADMK, despite a tremendous victory, is disappointed that the BJP won such an overwhelming mandate at the Centre. The decisive Modi victory has meant that despite the numbers, Jayalalithaa will not be sought after as an ally in Delhi. Instead, she will have to stay on the right side of the Centre for funds and assistance.