THENI: With overwhelming support from the AIADMK and DMK councillors, Palanisamy, an independent councillor, who later joined the Congress, was elected chairman of Theni municipality.
The municipal Commissioner C. Ramanan announced that Palaniamy got 18 out of total 33 votes. His arch-rival and former municipal chairman P. Muniandi got eight votes, AIADMK candidate Ganesan garnered just six votes. One vote was rejected. Councillor Vasantha had shown her ballot paper to other councillors after casting her vote. Her vote was rejected.
Local Congress leaders kept all councillors supporting Mr. Palanisamy in other districts for the past two weeks to prevent last minute defection.
Even as AIADMK has 11 councillors, highest in the council, its candidate, who garnered only six votes, was defeated, as a majority of AIADMK councillors cast their votes in favour of the Congress candidate.
The AIADMK cadres staged protests and criticised this.
A loyalist of Periakulam MP, J.M. Haroon, Mr. Palanisamy had started his career as scavenging staff and became a municipal driver.
After retirement, he contested in the municipal election and became an independent councillor.
Earlier, councillors cutting across parties brought no confidence motion against the then municipal chairman Muniandi. With no majority, he lost his post.