Bharatiya Janata Party’s Tamil Nadu chief K Annamalai is trailing Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader Ganapathy Rajkumar P in the state’s Coimbatore Lok Sabha constituency, data from the Election Commission showed.

As per the trends at 7.45 pm, Rajkumar was leading with a margin of 92,064 votes.

Coimbatore is one of 39 Lok Sabha seats in Tamil Nadu. The state voted in the first phase of the polls on April 19. The voter turnout was 69.72%.

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For the first time in decades, the southern state witnessed a three-way contest. Ideologically, it was a two-way fight between the Periyarist principles of social justice and equality and the BJP’s Hindutva.

On one hand, there is the INDIA bloc, including the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin-led Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, the Congress, the Communist Party of India, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and four regional parties.

Then there is Edappadi Palaniswami’s All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam-led alliance with three other regional parties. In September 2023, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam parted ways with the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance, accusing Annamalai of disrespecting their icons.

After Jayalalithaa’s death in 2016, the party took on the BJP as an ally in both the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and the 2021 Assembly elections.

For decades, Tamil Nadu has swung between the two Dravidian parties – the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.

The Annamalai-led National Democratic Alliance front has retained its partnership with Anbumani Ramadoss’ Pattali Makkal Katchi for the polls.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP won zero seats and polled a vote share of 3.66%. In that election, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam won 24 seats with 33.52% vote share and the Congress won eight seats with 12.61% vote share, both contesting as part of the state-level Secular Progressive Alliance. The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam secured one seat with 19.39% vote share.

Polling in 542 parliamentary constituencies this year was held across seven phases between April 19 and June 1. The Lok Sabha has 543 seats and a party or coalition needs 272 seats to form the government.

This is a developing story. It will be updated as new details are available.

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