By K R Sudhaman
The recent urban local body elections in Tamil Nadu held for the first time after 2011 has helped strong ruling DMK in the state to consolidated further decimating its rival opposition AIADMK. DMK won all the 21 corporations and unseated AIADMK in its traditional stronghold in western Tamil Nadu. The National electronic channels while interpreting the results however wrongly claimed that the BJP had finished third but in reality the saffron party had finished poor fourth. This is because it counted out Congress which had contested in alliance with ruling DMK.
The unprecedented mandate received by the DMK just ten months after its victory in the state assembly elections, is a big vote of confidence in the DMK supremo and TN Chief Minister M K Stalin who led the party poll machinery from the front. He is now feeling confident to involve himself more in national politics as all regional leaders are telling him to take a major role in uniting the regional non BJP parties against the BJP in the coming Lok Sabha elections.
A quick glance of the number of seats the major parties have won in Tamil Nadu urban body elections showed that the Congress had won 73 seats in corporations against 22 of BJP. Congress won 151 seats in municipalities against 56 of BJP and 368 seats in town panchayats against 230 of BJP. This aspect of the results have been given a go by the national tv channels, falsely claiming BJP had finished third and interpreted it as the saffron party making in-roads in the Tamil Nadu elections this time contesting on its own without an alliance with AIADMK. Though BJP might have won a few seats in some urban local bodies, which they have not won before, the ruling national party had done well only in traditional bastion of Kanyakumari and some pockets in Coimbatore. Also its vote share percentage has remained more or less same as last time that is 2011 at around 2.5 per cent.
The ruling DMK in its virtual sweep, had won 946 corporation seats, 2360 municipalities and 4388 town panchayats as against AIADMK’s 164 corporations, 638 municipalities and 1206 town panchayats. It is usually the case in Tamil Nadu that the ruling party in the state wins majority in local body elections This is borne by the fact that in 2011 when AIADMK won the assembly elections under its supremo J Jayalalithaa won 585 corporations seats, 1688 municipalities and 2928 town panchayats as against DMK’s 130 corporation seats, 964 municipalities and 1833 town panchayats. At that time only 10 corporations, 125 municipalities and 529 town panchayats existed and AIADMK captured power in all of them. Since then more corporations, municipalities and town panchayats have been added. The urban local body poll debacle this time indicate that AIADMK which won almost 50 per cent of the urban local body seats in 2011, may end up with just around 15 per cent of seats across Tamil Nadu. This also indicates the failure of the dual leadership of AIADMK under O Panneer Selvam and Edapadi K Palaniswamy.
This time DMK had won a perfect centum by winning all 21 of the 21 corporations in the polls held on February 19 and the results declared Tuesday. The ruling DMK led front, which included Congress as well, crossed the simple majority mark of 50 per cent of seats in 130 out of 139 municipalities and 350 out of 489 town panchayats.
The see-saw battle and results swing is nothing uncommon in Tamil Nadu as both DMK and AIADMK are cadre based parties and the pendulum swing happens in accordance with the ruling dispensation in the state. This is a very important aspect in Tamil Nadu politics and it facilitates implementations of various schemes both social and economic in smooth and easy manner. This is also perhaps one of the reasons for good administration at the local body level in particular. Delhi is clear example of friction between the state level and local body level administration. When Congress was in power BJP was in power in local bodies. Now when AAP is in power in the State, BJP is in power in local bodies and this had resulted in tug of war. The sufferer are the people as projects and schemes do not get implemented efficiently and properly due to politics. There is a lesson in this.
Significantly, the DMK alliance has unseated the AIADMK in its traditional stronghold of western Tamil Nadu where it had lost all 10 assembly seats in 2011 assembly elections. Political pundits say this is because of the good performance of the Stalin-led DMK government and hence people have responded favourably.
The smaller party like Ramdoss’s PMK, which has some following in central Tamil Nadu did badly in this elections. The party which was in alliance with AIADMK in the last assembly elections had since left the party and was now close to DMK. The actor turned politician Kamal Hassan’s party Makkal Needhi Maiam failed to win in any ward. While Vijaykanth’s DMDK won 12 ward member posts in municipalities and 23 town panchayats, Seeman’s Naam Tamilar Katchi managed to win six town panchayat wards in Kanyakumari and Tenkasi districts. Overall smaller parties did very badly. This included TTV Dhinakaran’s AMMK, a breakaway group from AIADMK led by Sasikala’s nephew. There were number of social activists as independent candidates particularly in Chennai. Though some of them made their presence felt finishing second or third, none of them could make. Some managed zero or one vote including one or two from BJP as well. This meant even the candidate did not vote for himself or herself.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin said the victory was a recognition for Dravidian model of development and governance and a certificate for its nine months of rule in the state. Stalin also warned the local body election winners from his party not to indulge in any malpractices as he himself would be personally monitoring their performance on a regular basis implying they should adopt people-centric approach in governance.
The polls also reflect the general mood against polarized politics in the state. (IPA Service)
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