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TN: DMK, AIADMK Sway Nearly 78% of Urban Local Bodies Seats

Sruti MD |
Overall, the DMK and AIADMK won 77.45% of seats and 68.28% of vote share, and continue to be at the centre of politics in the state.
Image credit: Prakash R

Image credit: Prakash R

 

In the recently held urban local body polls in Tamil Nadu, the two big Dravidian parties - Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) - together captured 77.45% of seats and 68.28% of votes and continue to be at the centre of politics in the state.

The DMK won a thumping majority of 8,001 ward members posts out of 12,838 seats in city corporations, municipal corporations and town panchayats. The party won all 21 city corporations in the state, including Chennai. It also emerged victorious in most of the 138 municipalities and 489 town panchayats.

The AIADMK finished a distant second, bagging a total of 2,008 seats. It won no municipal corporations and only a handful of municipalities and town panchayats.

Of the total 200 wards in the Greater Chennai Corporation, the DMK won 133; AIADMK followed by a meagre 15.

Overall, the DMK won 57.59% and AIADMK 15.82% of total seats in urban local bodies. In terms of vote share, the DMK got 43.13%, followed by the AIADMK, which bagged 25.15% of the total votes polled in the single-phased election held on February 19.

All the other parties and independent candidates bagged 2,829 seats- 26.59% seats and 31.72% votes.

Image credit: Prakash R

Image credit: Prakash R

 

DMK’S THUMPING VICTORY

Many reasons contributed to DMK's big win in the direct elections to the recently held urban local body polls.

The DMK being a ruling party in the state is a significant contributor to the vote swing. This is mainly in the hope that if the local bodies are in good relations with the state, there would be ease of functioning, and the necessary civic amenity issues would be addressed.

In the previous urban local body elections held in 2011, the then ruling party AIADMK had similarly secured all the then existing 11 city corporations.

Secondly, the DMK led Secular Progressive Alliance has been intact since the 2021 Assembly elections. Congress, Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi and Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam have stuck it out and pulled the front towards victory.

Each of these parties has strongholds in pockets, and without scattering that has transferred into votes for the DMK candidates. Moreover, the unity has overall given a good appeal, as opposed to the three-way split of the AIADMK-led opposition.

DMK's lavish policies and schemes cannot be sidelined; they have undoubtedly contributed to its victory. Unpaid bus rides for women, gift hampers for Pongal, etc., have been received well, especially among women.

The chief minister Stalin's presence on television every day, providing a portrayal of fighting the vicious central government while safeguarding the state's rights, has clicked among certain sections. The portrayal of MK Stalin as the forerunner of social justice, while the AIADMK allies with the ruling party in the centre, is a definite contributor of votes from those who want to keep the Hindutva forces under check.

AIADMK, THE RUNNER UP

The issue that continues to trouble the AIADMK is the lack of solid leadership and in-fighting, which has doubtlessly been reflected in these polls.

O Panneerselvam and Edappadi K Palaniswami are struggling to establish their individual powers within the party while also trying hard to keep the party together. Party functionaries are dismissed for speaking up against these two leaders weekly.

Though the AIADMK has a strong cadre-base and retains a huge vote share, it appears directionless. This became even more prominent with Palaniswami's recent remark of 'one nation, one election' policy.

Moreover, while the DMK-led ruling alliance stays intact, the AIADMK-led opposition split three-ways since the 2021 Assembly elections. The AIADMK-BJP electoral alliance came to a halt when seat-sharing talks failed as BJP demanded more seats for these single-phase urban local body polls.

The AIADMK lost out on seats to the DMK alliance in the western part of the state, a stronghold of the AIADMK, especially Coimbatore.

However, it should not be forgotten that the AIADMK got more than 1/4th of the votes polled by contesting alone. This is a considerable number, and it is the party's traditional vote base.

Even as the AIADMK was at a distant second position and won only a handful of seats and are seen as a sinking ship, it is to be noted that the overall vote share sticks to the traditional pattern in the state - the two Dravidian majors occupy 68% of the total votes.

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