Congress' Mayor candidate R. Chinnaiyan's election manifesto and promotional literature boast about the Coimbatore Corporation's achievements in the last five years. They list 45 items, and say most of it was executed with the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) funds given by the Congress-led Centre.
The publicity materials also have pictures of all Congress leaders. But missing is R. Venkatachalam, the incumbent Mayor, a Congressman who led the outgoing civic body. Mr. Venkatachalam, not contesting this time, was not seen in any other Congress' councillor candidates' poll material either. A few Congress Councillors said their campaign would be weakened if they were seen in Mr. Venkatachalam's company because of the “poor implementation” of the JNNURM projects, and lack of development. A Congress councillor said during Mr. Venkatachalam's tenure, the Mayor was seen cosying up to the DMK too much that dented his credibility. Mr. Chinnaiyan said he wanted to focus only on his own strengths in the campaign.
For Opposition parties, this has only vindicated their stand. The AIADMK's candidate P. Rajkumar said the fact that the outgoing Mayor was absent during campaign spoke volumes about the state of affairs in the Corporation in the last five years. However, Mr. Venkatachalam said he had been very much part of the Congress campaign, but found it difficult to cover all the 100 wards, given his age and the distance of some of the wards from his residence.