D. Radhakrishnan

Candidates make maximum use of local television channels

Udhagamandalam: With just a couple of days left for the 2006 civic elections, most of those aspiring to become members of various local bodies in both the urban and rural parts of the Nilgiris are sweating it out in the field, notwithstanding wet and nippy conditions.

The main reason being that the number of persons in the fray in most of the wards is high and at many places candidates of allies are pitted against each other.

A tour of some parts of the district by The Hindu revealed that in many of the wards a no-holds barred fight is on. While the stakes are high for the opposing DMK and AIADMK fronts, many of the independents are treating the battle of the ballot as a prestige issue. With speculation over which front or independent will emerge victorious in different parts of the district becoming widespread, the ensuing elections have become the main topic of discussion in the district. Even certain sections of the society, which were till now not showing any interest in the proceedings, have started making discreet enquiries about the chances of different candidates, particularly in the Udhagamandalam and Coonoor municipalities.

Though the race has entered the homestretch, star campaigners are conspicuous by their absence. Among the prominent persons wooing the voters are the State Khadi Board Minister K. Ramachandran and the Nilgiris MP, R. Prabhu. Aspirants are making the optimum use of the local television channels to impress the electorate. While many are asking for votes by projecting their respective track record, some particularly in Ooty are even promising to remain incorruptible and battle the forces of corruption in the councils.

Vehicles sporting flags of various parties and equipped with public address systems have become ubiquitous. However, a view shared by many,is that in many wards independents would put up an impressive show.