In a major trial of strength at the grassroot level since the April assembly polls, ruling AIADMK and DMK will seek people's manadate to rule civic bodies in the first phase of the local body elections on Monday.
DMK and AIADMK are going on their own, squeezing out their allies Congress and DMDK and Left, respectively, forcing the Communists to join hands with actor Vijayakant's DMDK.
Congress and PMK, another former DMK ally, will also be going it alone in the elections for over 1.30 lakh civic posts in which more than four lakh candidates are in fray. Final phase of the polls is scheduled on October 19.
DMK, seeking to redeem its lost pride after the rout in the assembly polls, is banking on its performance having been at the helm in most of the Corporations and several municipalities besides scores of local bodies.
In the controversial 2006 local body polls marred by allegations of violence and irregularities, DMK managed to win Chennai corporation among others. But AIADMK is keen to wrest control, seeking to repeat its Assembly polls performance.
DMK chief M Karunanidhi is seeking a successive term for his party candidates, listing out the various efforts taken by the respective civic bodies.
AIADMK on the other hand, has assured people to implement various welfare projects not done by DMK or in demand for a long time, even as chief minister J Jayalalithaa has assured to continue to crackdown against landgrab involving DMK men.
In her election rallies across the state, Jayalalithaa has sought the people's mandate not just on this promise, but highlighted her government's sops such as rice free of cost, providing free mixer-grinder and fan among others.
The DMDK and the two Left parties, all former allies of AIADMK, have aligned to face the elections, after seat-sharing talks with their lead partner failed.
The popularity of DMDK will be tested as the party, launched as an alternative to the two Dravidian parties in 2005, aligned with Jayalalithaa's AIADMK for the 2011 polls to oust DMK.
With 29 members, DMDK is the Principal Opposition party in the Assembly, pushing DMK to the third spot.
For the first time, electronic voting machines will be used for the ten corporations and municipalities.
The State Election Commission has made elaborate arrangements, including videographing of the polling process in sensitive booths and deploying police personnel from neighbouring states.