Staff Reporter

RAJAPALAYAM: A close finish is expected in the by-election to fill up the post of Vice-Chairman of Rajapalayam Municipality on Monday, where the Congress is locking horns with the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.

With both the parties fearing cross-voting, tight police security has been provided at the municipal office to prevent any untoward incident. The by-poll that was earlier scheduled for October 18, could not be held due to “non-conducive situation”.

The strength of the AIADMK in the council has gone up by 12, as five councillors belonging to Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, two each from Communist Party of India, Congress and Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam, and one from Puthiya Tamilagam have switched their loyalty to it.

While the AIADMK candidate, S.A. Manikanda Raja, claimed to have the support of 26 members, including the two Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam councillors, the rival candidate, S.R. Beema Raja, said he was backed by 23 members.

However, AIADMK candidate is said to have an edge over the other since he has been put in fray by the (Rajapalayam) Town Councillors’ Association.

The body was floated by the councillors who opposed and defeated the former vice-chairman, A.A. Subbaraja, (Congress) during a no-confidence motion moved against him in July.

The council, at present, has 41 members (total 42 councillors), since Mr. Subbaraja was removed from the post of councillor for not attending three consecutive council meetings.

Senior State leaders of the AIADMK are likely to accompany the councillors supporting Mr. Manikanda Raja. Following a High Court direction, the Superintendent of Police, T. Senthil Kumar, is directly overseeing the security arrangements.