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, the 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 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 — which 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. According to the results announced at 9.30 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 534 corporation wards for which results have been announced, it could secure only 15 and of the 3,641 municipal wards it could manage only 162. Congress could get some consolation from the results of the Town Panchayats wherein it could secure 24 of the 523 posts of chairman. While it has drawn a blank with regard to district panchayat wards so far (of the 11 declared), it has won only 70 of the 1984 panchayat union wards. Thus, in total, its tally is just 647 of the total 14,762 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 13 town panchayats, 181 town panchayat wards, one district panchayat ward and 23 wards of the panchayat unions. In total it has won 262 of the total 14,762 posts for which results have been declared.