Tamil Nadu election result: DMK set for a clean sweep in urban civic polls | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Tamil Nadu election result: DMK set for a clean sweep in urban civic polls

ByHT Correspondent, Chennai
Feb 23, 2022 04:14 AM IST

The polling for 21 municipal corporations, 138 municipal councils and 489 town panchayats was held on February 19 after a gap of 10 years

The ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) is heading for a landslide victory in the urban local body polls for which counting started on Tuesday decimating its traditional rival the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) which came a distant second, and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to third or fourth position at most places.

DMK party workers celebrate after the party's lead in the Tamil Nadu local body elections, at the party headquarters in Chennai on Tuesday. (PTI)
DMK party workers celebrate after the party's lead in the Tamil Nadu local body elections, at the party headquarters in Chennai on Tuesday. (PTI)

The polling for 21 municipal corporations, 138 municipal councils and 489 town panchayats was held on February 19 after a gap of 10 years ; the previous AIADMK government did not conduct the polls five years ago. The mayors and heads of municipalities and corporations will be elected indirectly by the elected councillors. At last count, the DMK (and its allies) had won or was leading in all municipal corporations.

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Chief minister M K Stalin termed the DMK’s win a victory of the Dravidian model of governance and a “certificate of good conduct” from the people. Analysts termed the victory a shot in the arm for the party which returned to power after a decade a year ago.

The AIADMK and the BJP, which fought the last year’s assembly elections together, decided to contest separately to test their ground strength. In around 30 wards in Chennai (200 wards), the BJP was ahead of the AIADMK, but the headline was the DMK and its allies sweeping the city with 183 wards (the AIADMK won 15 and the BJP, 1).

Tamil Nadu BJP chief K Annamalai claimed the BJP had emerged the third largest party in Tamil Nadu and thanked workers as well as leaders.

In some wards, the PMK candidates, another erstwhile AIADMK ally, also emerged third.

The results declared so far showed that the DMK and its allies such as the Congress and the Left Parties would also sweep a majority of the municipalities and town panchayats .

The DMK looked comfortable in the western region— its weakest link usually, and a citadel of AIADMK — which favoured the alliance of the AIADMK and BJP during the assembly election held last April. After the last year’s assembly win, the DMK has been focussing on the western areas and the party had appointed Minister V Senthil Balaji who comes from the Karur in the region as party in-charge for Coimbatore.

The DMK also did well in the Coimbatore, where the party had failed to win any of the 10 Assembly seats in 2021 assembly elections.

The DMK has also won in Thondamuthur town panchayat, the home turf of former AIADMK Minister S P Velumani, considered a heavy weight in the region. After decades, the ruling party has captured the Gobichettypalayam municipality, the native of another AIADMK stalwart, KA Sengottaiyan.

Buoyed by one more electoral win, DMK workers celebrated the victory across the state by bursting fire crackers, distributing sweets and hailing party chief M K Stalin’s leadership.

DMK veteran and party general secretary Duraimurugan called on Stalin and greeted him on the party’s continuing winning streak. DMK MPs A Raja and Dayanidhi Maran were among others who visited Stalin. Maran tweeted, “We wholeheartedly thank all the voters for their immense faith and trust!”

AIADMK chief coordinator and former Tamil Nadu deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam termed the DMK’s victory as “artificial” and accused the ruling party of “misusing” government machinery for poll victory. “The government misused its position for the poll victory. We know people are with us,” he said.

In Chennai, the BJP opened its account with the victory of its controversial candidate Uma Anandan who had in an interview recently said that she was a supporter of Nathuram Godse.

“The DMK has swept the polls as AIADMK was not seen as a strong opposition to the party. The BJP’s decision to contest alone has worked for it as the party has won a few seats. The BJP was able to eat into AIADMK’s vote, a reason for AIADMK’s poor performance. To me, the election was about good governance and the DMK has done well on this count. DMK performed well in Chennai because of its proactive relief during 2021 floods,” said political expert Maalan Narayanan.

“As long as Jayalalithaa was alive, a section of right wing votes went in her favour. Because she was believed to have a slant towards the right. But after her demise, the dual leadership hasn’t earned the credibility of the right wing voters. BJP has outperformed all smaller parties and emerged as the third party but it is a distant third. Tamil Nadu’s electorate is not polarised and it will be tough for the BJP to follow the same strategy here which it follows at the national level,” he added.

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