The indirect elections to be held on Saturday for choosing deputies to the local bodies in Cuddalore and Villupuram districts will probably throw up many surprises.
Though the direct elections to the municipal chairman and town panchayat chairman posts went off peacefully and without much of political acrimony, the same cannot be expected of the indirect elections to be held on Saturday.
The elected representatives would choose from among themselves vice-chairmen of municipalities and town panchayats, chairmen and vice-chairmen of the district panchayats and vice-presidents of the village panchayats.
The political parties, which had contested individually but had not obtained absolute majority, are exploring the possibility of forging alliance with “like-minded” parties to capture the second-level posts.
This might lead to alliances of certain political parties that had not seen eye to eye prior to the local body elections. In this regard, the Independents have come to play a decisive role as their support could tilt the balance in one way or the other.
A lot of behind-the-scene bargaining to attract the Independents is said to be going on.
For instance, in the 33-member Chidambaram Municipality, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam has won the chairman post.
However, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam has won 13 councillor seats, followed by the AIADMK 12, Pattali Makkal Katchi, Congress, the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and the Desiya Murpolkku Dravida Kazhagam - one each, and, Independents - four.
Therefore, both the DMK and the AIADMK have started wooing the Independents for getting their candidates elected to the vice-chairman post. It is obvious that the Independents would get their pound of flesh before casting their lot behind any of the leading Dravidian parties.
At the 19-member Vriddhachalam panchayat union, the AIADMK and the DMDK have reached a tie by winning five ward members each, and the tally of other parties are: the PMK – three, DMK—one and Independents – five.
Therefore, in this local body the backing of the PMK and the Independents would decide the vice-chairman candidate. Therefore, a tough negotiation seems to be going on to get their support.
Another factor to be taken note of is that for the Khammapuram panchayat union chairman post, there is competition between two AIADMK candidates. In the 24-member union, the AIADMK has got 12 ward members, the PMK and the DMDK - four each, the DMK - two and Independents - two. At Parangipettai town panchayats, two Independents have joined the AIADMK and one the DMK.
At the 20-member Thirunavalur panchayat union in Villupuram district, the DMK has secured 12 wards, the AIADMK seven and Independent one. There is a talk that to protect its flock, the DMK is said to have arranged for a “conducted” tour for a group of its elected members to certain undisclosed destinations in Andhra Pradesh.