The ruling DMK in Tamil Nadu registered a landslide victory in the urban local body elections, winning all 21 city corporations in the state. Hardly a year since they came to power, urban local body poll results mean a lot for the DMK and its allies, including Congress, Left, Dalit and minority parties.
The party won all 21 city corporations in the state, including Chennai. In Chennai city corporation, the party won 153 seats against AIADMK’s 15 seats in the 200-member city urban council. Even the DMK ally Congress managed 13 seats while others such as CPI(M) (4) and Dalit party VCK (4), too, have ensured an impressive presence.
In Kanyakumari district, at the southern tip of the state, Nagercoil municipality was a tough battle for the DMK, for none other than the BJP had a solid vote base here. But the DMK won 24 of the 52 seats against BJP’s 11 seats, while AIADMK was pushed to the third position with just seven seats.
In western Tamil Nadu, and more importantly, Coimbatore, Salem and Tirupur – traditional strongholds of the AIADMK with a significant vote base for BJP, the DMK captured most of the seats. Even the area, where former chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami resided in Salem, voted for the DMK. Salem was a prestigious place for the AIADMK where the party had focused on maximum infrastructure projects during the previous regime.
Even the Coimbatore corporation, where people voted for the AIADMK in the last assembly polls, was captured by the DMK. A months-long campaign led by top DMK leaders ensured its victory in the Thondamuthur Town Panchayat in Coimbatore, a bastion of former AIADMK minister S P Velumani, who is known for his money and muscle power.
After delivering an impressive victory for the DMK in the nearby Karur in the last assembly polls, the state electricity minister Senthil Balaji’s strategies worked in capturing Coimbatore this time. Of 100 seats there, the DMK won 74 seats while the AIADMK was reduced to a distant fourth position, and the Congress won nine seats. The CPI and the CPI(M) won four seats each. The DMK won 159 municipalities against the AIADMK’s 22 seats of a total of 198.
AIADMK a distant second
Two sweeping victories of the DMK in Periyakulam and Edappadi Municipalities reveal the magnitude of the AIADMK’s defeat in the polls. Both were prestigious strongholds of AIADMK; Periyakulam, the native of former deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam and Edappadi, the native of former CM Palaniswami.
When the DMK won all 21 city corporations, it was again a sweeping victory as the AIADMK got only 164 seats (of 1374 seats) against the DMK’s 952. While the AIADMK won just 638 seats out of 3843 municipality seats, the DMK alone won 2360 besides their allies bagging over 200 seats more. Of 7,620 town panchayat seats, the AIADMK won just 1,206 against DMK’s 4388 seats, and DMK allies won 500 more seats.
BJP’s claims and the result
The party’s claims were taller even as rivals never expected the BJP to do wonders when they contest alone. But not only that, it was reduced to a single-district party; of the total 308 seats they won, 200 were from the Kanyakumari district alone.
They seem to have also gone wrong in calculations they made in Coimbatore and other western regions, where the state party leadership headed by state chief K Annamalai and the former state chief L Murugan invested a lot of time and resources to build the party in recent years.
Still, BJP leaders can boast of their presence in municipalities and town panchayats in 28 districts, including an account they opened in Greater Chennai Corporation by defeating Congress.
The victory of DMK allies
DMK supremo M K Stalin said on Tuesday that the credit for his victory goes to the larger secular alliance. When everything fell in place, and people chose to back DMK again after four previous polls, Congress, CPI, CPI(M), Dalit party VCK and even Vaiko’s MDMK were all beneficiaries of the victory.
The Indian National Congress in the DMK alliance won 592 seats, including 73 seats in city corporation seats, 151 in municipalities and 368 in town panchayats.
DMK allies CPI had 58 seats, CPI(M) won 166 seats, and Vaiko’s DMDK bagged 35 seats.