Win in Madurai comes as sweet revenge for party

The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) swept the local body elections in south Tamil Nadu winning all the three Mayor posts. Its candidates also emerged victorious in most of the municipalities and town panchayats.

The ruling party ensured the deputy's post in urban local bodies as it won in a majority of wards in municipalities and town panchayats.

The win in Madurai was sweet revenge for the AIADMK in more than one way. Its Mayoral candidate, V. V. Rajan Chellappa, won the battle of the ballot for the first time. The former Rajya Sabha MP's earlier forays into the election arena did not succeed in the 1980, 1989 and 2006 Assembly elections.

The party also won the direct election for the Mayor post for the first time. The AIADMK won two-third majority in the expanded Corporation Council, which had DMK Mayors in the last two terms. The ruling party candidates were also returned as chairpersons of all three municipalities in the district – Melur, Tirumangalam and Usilampatti – and four in Ramanathapuram.

The local body election results, coming on the heels of Assembly election results, which gave a perfect 10 for the AIADMK alliance, demonstrated that the gateway to the southern hinterland is no more the bastion of DMK strongman and Union Minister M. K. Alagiri.

In Tirunelveli Corporation, Vijila Sathyanand of AIADMK defeated S. Amutha of the DMK by a margin of 22, 483 votes. The third Corporation in the region, Tuticorin, went in favour of AIADMK candidate Sasikala Pushpa, who trounced Pon. Initha of the DMK by a margin of 23, 256 votes.

Among the 40 municipalities in the region, AIADMK candidates won the chairperson's post in 30, DMK in 4, CPI (M) in 2, BJP and DMDK in one each and Independents (including an AIADMK rebel in Bodinaickanur) in two places.

The DMDK entered the local body arena winning the chairperson's post in Gudalur of Theni district. The Pattali Makkal Katchi opened its account by winning a ward election in Madurai Corporation. O. Raja, brother of O. Panneerselvam, Finance Minister, won in Periakulam, while an AIADMK rebel, V. R. Palaniraj, defeated the official AIADMK nominee by 11 votes in Bodinaickanur. The AIADMK also won the Paramakudi municipality. Four municipalities held by the Congress in Virudhunagar district were wrested by the AIADMK, along with the town panchayat of Kandanur, the hometown of Union Home Minister, P. Chidambaram. The four municipalities in Kanyakumari district were shared among the AIADMK, DMK, CPI (M) and BJP.

Counting of votes was marred by a clash between AIADMK and DMK supporters at Palani. After a delay of an hour, the DMK candidate was declared elected chairperson of Palani municipality.