While both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the major national parties, suffered a drubbing in the local body elections in Tamil Nadu, BJP can feel comparatively better off because it could at least secure chairmanship of two municipalities — Nagercoil and Mettupalayam.

The Congress is passing through probably the worst period in its history in the State after the mauling it received in the elections to the State Assembly in May this year in which it could manage only five of the 63 seats contested despite being in alliance with the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK).

After losing power to the DMK-led alliance in the State in 1967, it started losing its sheen gradually. And after the demise of its charismatic leader K.Kamaraj in 1975, it started riding piggyback on regional parties such as the DMK and the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK).

Congress sources, requesting anonymity, admit that even the mayorship of two corporations — Tiruchi and Coimbatore — they had won in the 2006 elections was because of the “alliance politics and the local adjustments”. Besides, it was indirect elections for the mayor and also the chairmanship of the municipalities then.

This time around, without the crutches of either of the Dravidian parties in the local body polls, the Congress has been left high and dry. Factionalism, which has been the bane of the party for long, and not working on the grassroots level are said to be the two major reasons for such a poor performance. The inability of the party to announce the names of even mayoral candidates till the last day is a clear testimony of the poverty in decision making, the sources lamented.

According to the results announced at 10.45 p.m, the Congress has failed to win even one of the mayor posts though it contested for the stewardship of all the 10 municipal corporations in the State. Its performance even at the corporation councillor level was very poor. But the most galling was that it fared very poorly in the elections for the chairmanship of the municipalities also.

It could not win even one of the 123 municipalities for which results have been announced so far. Similarly, of the 537 corporation wards for which results have been announced, it could secure only 15 and of the 3,657 municipal wards it could manage only 164.

The Congress could get some consolation from the results of the Town Panchayats wherein it could secure 24 of the 525 posts of chairman. While it has secured two district panchayat wards so far (of the 33 declared), it has won only 84 of the 2,607 panchayat union wards. Thus, in total, its tally is just 666 of the total 15,470 posts for which results have been declared.

BJP general secretary Muralidhara Rao himself admitted on Friday that his party had to struggle because of the “highly regionalised” politics in Tamil Nadu.

This time, it could win only four corporation wards, 38 municipal wards, chairmanship of two municipalities and 13 town panchayats, 181 town panchayat wards, two district panchayat wards and 25 wards of the panchayat unions. In total, it has won 265 of the total 15,470 posts for which results have been declared.

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