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TN Municipal Polls: BJP’s Claims of 'Unprecedented Victory' are Fabricated

Neelambaran A |
More than two-thirds of the total 308 wards won by the party is from the Kanyakumari district alone, while the party has no representation in 10 districts. The party was unable to even field candidates in around 60% of the seats up for grabs.

Representational use only.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has made tall claims as soon as the results of the urban local bodies (ULB) elections were announced on February 22 in Tamil Nadu. The major claim of the state leadership is that the party has become the third-largest force and huge inroads are being made in several districts.

However, apart from a slight increase in the number of wards won by the BJP, the party has suffered humiliating defeats in several districts with no representation in 10 districts.

The BJP has won 22 of 1,373 municipal corporation wards, 56 of the 3,842 municipality wards and 230 of 7,603 town panchayat wards which went for polls. The numbers are boosted by the performance of the party in Kanyakumari district from where it won 200 wards out of the total 308 wards.

The performance of the party in important corporations including Chennai and Coimbatore has become a talking point with numerous candidates forfeiting deposits.


As soon as the results were published on February 22, the state BJP leadership claimed to have achieved an ‘unprecedented’ victory. The party also claimed to have made inroads in several places where there was no previous presence.

But, the number of wards won by the party as published by the Tamil State Election Commission (TNSEC) paints a contrasting story. The party has only improved its previous tally only by a small margin, contrary to the claims of unprecedented victory.

BJP performance in TN Polls

The party has won 1.6% of the municipal corporation wards and 1.46% of the wards in municipalities. The party had performed better in the town panchayat where it won 3.02% of the wards. In the 2011 local body elections, the party had won 1.76% of the total wards.

Several national leaders of the BJP also endorsed the claims of the state unit, with even false numbers. The national general secretary of the party, B Santhosh tweeted, "We have made a mark. 51% candidates, 323 councillors, 5.61% votes."

The party had neither won 323 councillors nor had 51% candidates. The Congress party has won more victories than the BJP despite contesting in a much lower number of wards.


The performance of the party in highly urbanised areas like Chennai and Coimbatore has come under scrutiny. The party had high hopes for the Greater Chennai (GCC) and Coimbatore Municipal corporations.

Though the party managed to win an alone seat in GCC, it drew a blank in Coimbatore and Tirunelveli. The party has a representative in the state assembly from Coimbatore in its national president of Mahila Morcha, Vanathi Srinivasan. The Tirunelveli constituency which houses the corporation is represented by BJP legislator Nainar Nagendran.

The party had pinned high hopes on these corporations but has hardly made an impact. Further, the party does not have any corporation councillors in 10 of the 21 corporations. It has alone councillor in 9 of the 11 corporations where it has representation.

Apart from failing to win even a single ward, the party candidates forfeited deposits in 86 of the 97 wards it contested out of the total 100 wards. A similar outcome is reported from the GCC as well. The party candidates failed to secure their deposits in 56 of 60 wards in Trichy corporation.

The party which contested in 1134 wards of the total 1373 wards which went for polls managed to secure 7.7% of the total polled votes.


Compared to the performance in 2011, the BJP has improved its tally from 37 municipality wards to 56 and 181 to 230 wards in the town panchayats. The performance is boosted by the higher number of wards won from the Kanyakumari district, which accounts for 200 wins out of the total 308 by the BJP.

The party had scored victories in 11 corporation wards, 21 municipality wards and 168 town panchayat wards in the district alone. The party since the late 1990s has successfully created a polarisation in the district with a 50% minority population and consolidated on the Hindu vote bank.

Though the number of wards has increased in the Kanyakumari district, the party has lost out on winning a simple majority to win the post of chairpersons in the local bodies which it won in 2011 when direct elections were held for these posts.

The BJP has one municipal chairperson and 13 town panchayat presidents in Kanyakumari, which has now been reduced to zero and 4 respectively.

The claims of the party on emerging as the third-largest force are not supported by the numbers, since it has failed to win a single ward in 10 districts. Barring Kanyakumari, the wards won from 28 districts is a meagre 108.

The party was unable to put up candidates in 54% of the municipality wards (1,175 candidates in 3,842 wards) and 64% of the town panchayat wards (2,685 candidates in 7,603 wards). The party fielded 1,134 candidates for the 1,373 wards in corporations.

The vote share of the party incorporation (7.7%), municipality (3.31%) and town panchayats (4.3%) is better than the Congress party simply because of the higher number of candidates in the fray. The Congress had fielded 122, 385 and 863 candidates in the corporation, municipalities and town panchayats respectively.

The party has boasted its victory to present itself as a huge force, but the party has a huge distance to travel, even to field candidates in all the wards of the ULBs.

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