The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK)-led ruling front has swept the rural local body elections held in nine districts while the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) has suffered a drubbing despite its stronghold on these areas.
The DMK alliance has won a massive mandate both in the district and union council wards. The other parties, including Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) and Naam Tamilar Katchi (NTK), suffered humiliating defeats despite high rhetoric and campaigns.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which contested along with the AIADMK, also suffered setbacks. The AIADMK alleged that the DMK violating poll codes and undermining the functioning of the state Election Commission. However, the DMK claimed that the huge mandate was the result of the government’s governance in the past five months.
The victory of a 90-year-old woman as the president of Sivanthipatti village panchayat, in Tirunelveli district, and a 21-year-old woman winning a similar post by one vote in Tenkasi district made the news.
DMK FRONT WINS BIG, AIADMK AND BJP DECIMATED
The DMK swept the district councillor wards by leading/winning in 138 of the 140 wards. The AIADMK won only two wards while the Congress five seats and the BJP drew a blank. The alliance also won the district council wards in seven districts while the AIADMK won one seat each in two districts. The DMK is now in a position to win the posts of president and vice-president in all nine districts.
The union council wards also had similar results with the DMK front winning big. Of the 1,381 wards, it is winning or leading in 1,010 seats while the AIADMK front has the upper hand in 215 wards, as per the results available till 3 pm.
The Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), in its strongholds of northern districts, has managed to secure 47 wards. The BJP has managed to win six union council wards. The Congress wrested 24 union council seats while the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) managed to win 27 seats as part of the DMK alliance.
The Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam, the splinter group of AIADMK, won only five seats and the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) of actor Vijayakanth secured only one. Both the parties contested the elections on their own.
A BJP candidate who contested in a village panchayat ward in Coimbatore district made news after securing a single vote. Though the elections to village panchayat wards are not contested directly on party lines, political parties field their candidates for the posts of members and presidents.
NTK, MNM DREW BLANK, VIJAY MAKKAL IYAKKAM CLAIMS WINS
The Vijay Makkal Iyakkam, a welfare organisation run by fans of actor Vijay, claimed that several of its members won. The office-bearers of the organisation claimed that 110 of the 169 members who contested the elections have won as ward members and presidents of village panchayats.
NTK, the radical Tamil nationalist party, which claims to be the true representatives of native Tamils, drew a blank in both union and district council wards. The MNM, led by actor Kamal Haasan, also suffered a similar fate. The party’s lack of reach to rural areas, was reflected in the results.
The DMDK’s poor performance was attributed to the deteriorating health of its leader and the continuous shifting of alliance with the Dravidian parties.
AIADMK ALLEGES FOUL PLAY
The AIADMK leadership, in a statement, accused the DMK of utilising the official machinery to secure victory. EK Palaniswami and O. Panneerselvam claimed that the DMK secured victory through backdoors by using its power.
“The state government and the state Election Commission permitted the violation on a large scale—right from the filing of nominations till the counting of votes. The DMK has made the state Election Commission a puppet,” the statement stated.
The party also alleged that DMK MLAs broke open the sealed rooms in Tirupattur district on October 10. “The Election Commission had to suspend the officials on duty as a face-saving measure. This is just one example. Several nominations were rejected against rules.”
The AIADMK leaders alleged that the Election Commission didn’t act on its complaints of violation of rules by DMK ministers and MLAs. “The results are the consequence of the blatant violation of norms by the DMK, not the defeat of the AIADMK,” the statement claimed.