The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam wrested the Mayor seat from its arch rival Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and made an impressive performance in a majority of the Corporation wards by emerging victorious in more than 75 out of the 100 seats.

Elections were held for 99 wards as a councillor candidate had died and the election to the ward was countermanded. Vijaykanth's Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam failed to open its account to the new council. While the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and Pattali Makkal Katchi managed to win one seat each, for the Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party and Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam it was drubbing. Independents won eight seats.

AIADMK's V.V. Rajan Chellappa who polled 3,12,226 votes defeated his nearest rival P. Packianathan of the DMK who secured 1,38,329 votes.

The AIADMK candidate won by a margin of 1,73,897 votes. The Pattali Makkal Katchi candidate Kaviarasu polled 88,778 votes.

Mr. Rajan Chellappa was not expected to lose. Faced with a weak field in the absence of the sulking Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers and Madurai strongman M.K. Alagiri's close associates cooling their heels in various jails in the State, it was, however, a make or mar political cross-roads for Mr. Chellappa.

After a thorough drubbing the DMK received in the recently concluded Assembly elections and the series of cases of land grab and other charges against his friends and cronies, Mr. Alagiri was out of the election scene which he had dominated until a year ago.

For Mr. Chellappa, it was an important victory. Only once did he get the opportunity to become an MP and that too through the Rajya Sabha route, courtesy, the party's general secretary Jayalalithaa. He lost twice in Assembly elections and Lok Sabha polls in the past.

A jubilant Mr. Chellappa told media persons after receiving the declaration certificate from Returning Officer S. Natarajan at the Madurai Medical College counting centre that he would strive hard to develop Madurai as a model city in the State. He assured to give a corrupt-free Corporation and deliver basic amenities like drinking water and good roads. Other than the AIADMK and the DMK, the DMDK candidate who polled 88,778 votes crossed the 50,000 mark.

There seemed to be no threat to Mr. Chellappa's victory from his nearest rival, as he kept improving his margin in every round. In round one itself, the AIADMK picked up a lead of over 18,000 votes.

Councillors

The ward-wise results also went in favour of the AIADMK in a big way. Out of the 100 seats, election was countermanded in ward 15 following the demise of the candidate S. P. Jeyamani of Melaponnagaram. From the 99 wards, the AIADMK bagged 77 seats, DMK 12, CPI(M) 1, PMK 1 and Independents eight seats. In ward 77 (Sundarajapuram), as both the DMK and AIADMK candidates polled equal number of votes, the winner was decided by drawing a lot. It went in favour of the AIADMK.

As Mr. Chellappa arrived, the AIADMK cadres burst crackers all through and celebrated the victory in style. Accompanied by Cooperation Minister K. Raju, district secretary A.K. Bose among others, they were showered with garlands and shawls.

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