The BJP’s Uma Anandan, a controversially vocal critic of the DMK and leftist parties who had proclaimed to be a “supporter of Godse” in an interview, was announced winner of one of Chennai’s wards in the local body poll results on Tuesday, enabling the Saffron party to set foot in the city’s local administrative system dominated by Dravidian parties for over fifty years.
As at 8 pm, the State Election Commission website showed that the BJP had won 22 wards in city corporations (like those of Chennai, Coimbatore, and others), 56 wards in the municipalities across the state, and 230 wards in the Town Panchayats.
Across the city, DMK president and state chief minister MK Stalin met press reporters after senior party leaders presented him with shawls to congratulate for the massive victory. Stalin claimed the Coimbatore bastion of the AIADMK has been taken and that the sweeping victory is a “recognition of the Dravidian model of governance.” He also said there was no pride but only the feeling of responsibility.
The BJP’s winning candidate in Chennai met the press after she was announced the winner of the 134th ward in the city Corporation. When posed the question of how she plans to face the formidable grouping of DMK’s ward members in the corporation, she belted out a Rajinikanth dialogue: Singam Singleadhan varum (a Lion walks alone…).
The Chennai city corporation, which polled only 31% votes, saw the DMK win 153 wards while ADMK, Congress, DMK alliance parties such as CPI, CPI(M), and BJP (lone seat) made up the rest. In the Coimbatore city corporation, a highly-contested bastion belonging to the BJP, Stalin’s DMK made significant inroads: it won 70 of the 94 wards counted at 8 pm; The AIADMK was left with three seats, and the BJP, which had claimed to have laid strong roots in Coimbatore has drawn a blank. In Salem, the homeground of former Chief Minister and the decision maker at the AIADMK, Edappadi Palaniswami, the DMK won handsomely, taking 47 of the sixty seats.
The Tamil Nadu local body polls threw up a bunch of surprises across Town Panchayats, Municipalities and City Corporations. In Vellore, a transperson by the name Ganga Naik won a ward while a 21-year-old girl student picked up a seat in the Southern municipality of Nagercoil; both are DMK candidates.
Actor Vijay was the dark horse in this election as his quasi-political outfit Vijay Makkal Iyakkam had begun plying autorickshaws with the diamond election symbol across the bylanes of Chennai and elsewhere. The Iyakkam had a Vijay lookalike from Kerala campaign from atop a vehicle in some of the constituencies. Mohamed Parvez, who heads the actor’s movement in Pudukottai district, has won ward number 4 in the municipality, marking the actor’s significant entry into the political/adminstrative system in Tamil Nadu’s urban local body system. Earlier, the Iyakkam had registered a strong entry into the rural local bodies.