Arch rivals in Tamil Nadu politics ruling AIADMK and DMK will clash for electoral supremacy for the second time this year, six months after the Assembly elections, in the two phased local body elections on October 17 and 19.
The civic polls, held after five years, have changed the political alignment in the state with major parties deciding to go alone.
The ball was set rolling by DMK, which first announced it would contest the polls on its own, without allying with Congress, its poll partner since 2004.
DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi made the announcement that his party would face the polls on its own, following the wish of party cadres who wanted their party to contest the civic polls without an alliance.
The cadres felt that the alliance with Congress had led to the party's rout in the April 13 Assembly polls where DMK was relegated to third position, for the first time since 1957 when it started contesting polls.
The ruling AIADMK also wants to test its popularity as it unilaterally announced its candidates for all civic bodies even as it was holding seat sharing talks with Left parties.
It did not even invite DMDK, its second partner in its rainbow alliance formed in March, for talks, signalling the end of the honeymoon between both parties.
Though actor Vijaykant, who floated DMDK, has not so far criticised the AIADMK government, he has expressed displeasure over functioning of the Jayalalithaa government by abstaining from the Assembly on the day leaders congratulated Jayalalithaa for completing 100 days in office.
This led to the formation of a front led by DMDK, which includes CPI-M and CPI, for the civic polls.
The Congress, for the first time since 1989, is contesting an election without an alliance in the civic polls. Though most of its leaders wanted to contest the polls in the DMK-led front, Youth Congress insisted the party go alone to help it grow at the grass root level.
PMK, which snapped ties with DMK three months back, also decided to contest polls without any alliance. MDMK, which boycotted the Assembly polls after its failure to clinch a poll deal with AIADMK, is also in the fray on its own.
Contesting on their own, parties now have a golden chance to show their individual popularity among voters.
There are a total of 31 district panchayats, 561 town panchayats, 50 third grade municipalities, over 12,000 village panchayats and over 85,000 wards, 98 municipalities and 10 municipal corporations in the state.
Over 4.75 crore electorate would cast their votes to elect ward members for district panchayats, panchayat union, council wards, village panchyat wards, panchayat presidents, municipal chairman, municipal wards and mayors.
Over 1.5 lakh candidates are seeking their electoral fortunes in the civic polls.