: The fate of 864 candidates, including 28 for the post of Mayor, will be decided by the voters of the city on Monday.
A total of 9,94,424 voters will use the electronic voting machine for the first time in the local body general elections. Among them 4,98,568 are men and 4,95,856 are women. The city has been expanded with the inclusion of 17 adjacent local bodies, including the municipalities of Tirupparankundram, Avaniyapuram and Anaiyur.
After a gap of 10 years, the voters will be directly electing the Mayor. The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam Government has reversed the previous Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam's decision of having an indirect election to the post of Mayor.
That the Mayoral candidates of several parties came under single roof to make their poll promises at two places was unique for this election.
The AIADMK has fielded its former Rajya Sabha member, V.V. Rajan Chellappa, while the DMK has put in fray its two-time councillor, P. Packianathan.
While Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa, flew down to seek voters for her party candidate, the DMK nominee had to fend to himself and few district functionaries for the electioneering.
Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam founder, Vijayakanth, his wife, Premalatha, and Communist Party of India (Marxist) leaders, including party State secretary, G. Ramakrishnan, went around the city seeking support for the DMDK's Mayoral candidate, K. Kaviarasu. Congress candidate, I. Siluvai, had the support of his party leaders, K.V. Thangkabalu, G.K. Vasan and E.V.K.S. Elangovan. Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader, Vaiko, said the votes in favour of his party candidate, A. Baskara Sethupathi, would be to safeguard the Mullaiperiyar dam.
The AIADMK leaders sought votes for the ruling party to implement all developmental schemes, the Congress and the DMDK leaders said that the local bodies were not dependent on the State Government for its funds. The Communist parties claimed votes for corruption-free governance.
The Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi candidate, Thiruma Moo. Pasumpon, declared that he had withdrawn himself from the race for the post of Mayor, after the last date of withdrawal of nominations citing indifferences with the party leader.
The Pattali Makkal Katchi, candidate, R.K. Ramesh, did not file his nominations due to domestic reasons. The Bharatiya Janata Party has fielded its State office-bearer, U. Rajendran.
The electioneering was by and large peaceful, except for stray incidents. The police slapped cases against leaders of few political parties, including AIADMK Mayoral candidate, for violation of election norms. Though the city roads were blocked when candidates of major political parties filed their nominations, electioneering did not pose much trouble to the city residents.
The walls were free of political graffiti and the streets free of flags and festoons.