As the councilor-elects are prone to possible ‘poaching’ ahead of the indirect election for the posts of Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Tirunelveli Corporation by the all-powerful aspirants, they have been taken to a seaside resort near Thiruvananthapuram.
Even though 45 of the 47 DMK candidates fielded in the urban civic polls registered resounding victory and the election of the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor of Tirunelveli Corporation appeared to be a hassle-free affair, intense intra-party fight started immediately after the results are declared for capturing these coveted posts at any cost.
Since former chairman of Thatchanallur zone of Tirunelveli Corporation P. Subramanian of DMK and former Deputy Mayor of the Corporation and Mr. Subramanian’s younger brother P. Jeganathan alias Ganesan of AIADMK have been elected from wards 3 and 30 respectively, rumours were rife that they would try to get the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor posts by convincing the councilors from any political party.
To make the competition hotter, DMK candidate Karuppasamy Kottaiyappan, who got elected to the Corporation council from ward 54, also entered the race. As these aspirants are from one of the dominant communities of Tirunelveli district and they have the ability to ‘convince’ the councilors, the post-poll scenario became more interesting to watch.
However, Tirunelveli city district secretary and Palayamkottai MLA M. Abdul Wahab, who was a former councilor of Tirunelveli Corporation, is for bringing the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor from other communities. Sources close to Mr. Wahab said a communally sensitive and volatile place like Tirunelveli should have the ‘First citizen of the city’ from a smaller community like Pillai or Yadhava.
“When A.L. Subramanian (of Pillai community) was the Mayor, he was accepted by every citizen of Tirunelveli as he, a modest man, was close to everyone cutting across the caste and party lines. His humble attitude in fact gave appealing image to the DMK. Hence, Mr. Wahab, in the best interest of the party’s image, wants this legacy to continue,” the sources added.
When the intra-party rivalry for getting mayoral post is likely to lead to poaching of the councilors, Mr. Abdul Wahab, who hosted a dinner for the candidates of the DMK and its allies in a city hotel here on Monday, came to the Government Engineering College, the counting centre, in the evening along with the winners. Once the candidates received the ‘Winner’s Certificates’ from the Returning Officers, they left for Kanniyakumari in vans while a few of the councilors followed these air-conditioned vans in their personal vehicles.
After the overnight stay at Kanniyakumari, they left for a seaside resort in Poovar near Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday early morning. They are likely to reach Tirunelveli on March 1 evening or 2 as they have to take oath to assume office.
Since Thoothukudi and Nagercoil Corporations are more likely to have N.P. Jegan and Mahesh respectively as the Mayors, the Tirunelveli Corporation may have a woman as its Mayor, party sources said.
“Since the Chief Minister is keen on empowering woman and had fielded more than 50% women in the urban local body election, it is expected that one of the three Corporations in the southern districts is likely to get woman Mayor,” said a senior DMK leader from a southern district.
When contacted, Mr. Wahab told ‘The Hindu’ that the DMK, thanks to the unrivaled administration by Chief Minister M.K. Stalin, had registered unprecedented victory in the local body elections across Tamil Nadu. “Of the 47 candidates we’ve fielded in Tirunelveli Corporation councilor election, 45 of them have emerged victorious. Since they are completely exhausted after intense election campaign, they are in a rejuvenation camp so that they can serve the people who voted them to power in the best possible fashion,” he said refusing to comment on the attempts being made to ‘poach’ the councilors ahead of indirect election for mayor.
When asked about the candidates for the posts of Mayor and the Deputy Mayor, he said: “Thalapathi (Mr. Stalin) will choose the right persons for these worshipful posts”.