Barely nine months after it faced a humbling defeat in the western region during the Assembly election, the DMK on Tuesday took sweet revenge, making massive inroads into the AIADMK’s bastion and capturing almost all the urban local bodies. Not only was the AIADMK pushed to a distant second, but the PMK, which took pride in the influence it had in districts like Salem, Namakkal and Dharmapuri, also came a cropper.
The ruling party swept the civic polls, capturing even the ward in Highways Colony in Salem district where AIADMK co-coordinator and former Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami resides. In the Assembly polls, the DMK front was defeated in all 10 constituencies in Coimbatore district. But on Tuesday, it not only captured the Coimbatore Corporation but also the Thondamuthur Town Panchayat, which is in the backyard of the AIADMK’s influential local leader and former Minister, S.P. Velumani.
The DMK secured a landslide victory across the State, and its strategy of fielding Electricity Minister Senthilbalaji as its pointsman in Coimbatore seems to have paid off.
The DMK reduced the AIADMK’s fortunes to just single-digit numbers in most of the local bodies barring the Hosur Corporation, where the AIADMK managed to win seats in double digits.
The AIADMK was able to win only three wards in the 100-member Coimbatore Corporation Council, while the DMK-led front secured 71 wards. The DMK won 159 out of the 198 wards in the seven municipalities in the district. Of the 33 town panchayats with 504 wards, the DMK won 378, leaving the AIADMK with just 71.
In the 60-member Tiruppur Corporation, the DMK alliance secured a majority, while the AIADMK managed to win 19 seats. The DMK won 66 out of the 108 municipal wards in Udhagamandalam, Coonoor, Gudalur and Nelliyalam, while its allies, the Congress and the CPI(M), won 13 and three wards, respectively. The AIADMK’s nominees emerged victorious in just 16 wards. In the 11 town panchayats in the Nilgiris, the DMK won 105 out of 183 wards and the AIADMK won 26 wards.
The Erode Corporation Council was bagged by the DMK, which won 44 out of 60 wards. Despite the presence of its regional strongman K.A. Sengottaiyan, the AIADMK secured just six seats. The DMK maintained its performance in the Bhavani, Gobichettipalayam, Sathyamangalam and Punjai Puliyampatti municipalities. Of the 628 wards in the town panchayats in Erode, the DMK bagged 411.
Besides comfortably capturing the Salem Corporation, the DMK won a majority in Edappadi, Attur, Mettur, Narasingapuram and Idanganasalai municipalities. In Namakkal, it secured a majority in all five municipalities and 18 of the 18 town panchayats.
The ruling party also captured the Krishnagiri Municipality, Hosur Corporation, and the town panchayats of Bargur, Denkanikottai, Uthangarai and Kaveripattinam.
In the 45-ward Hosur Corporation, the DMK front won 22 wards and the AIADMK 16. Independents won five wards, and the PMK and the BJP won a ward each. However, PMK councillor Gandhimathi Kannan switched loyalty to the DMK.
(With inputs from Rohan Premkumar in the Nilgiris, Karthik Madhavan in Coimbatore, R. Akileish in Tiruppur, S.P. Saravanan in Erode, Vignesh Vijayakumar in Salem and P.V. Srividya in Krishnagiri)