Tamil Nadu

Cross-voting lends edge to AIADMK-led front

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Ruling party outwits DMK in districts

The ruling AIADMK-led front, which finished next to the DMK-led combine in bagging wards of district panchayats (DP) and panchayat unions (PU) in 27 districts, on Saturday sprang a surprise by netting more posts of chairpersons of both DPs and PUs than its principal rival, in indirect elections.

Of the 26 chairpersons of DPs, the AIADMK-led combine won in 14 and the DMK’s front in the rest. In Sivaganga, the poll to the district panchayat council was deferred due to the absence of elected representatives. As for the 314 chairpersons of PUs, the former secured 150 and the latter 133. Direct elections took place in two phases on December 27 and 30, for which the results were declared between January 2 and 4.

The day also witnessed instances of violence in different parts of the State, forcing the postponement of the election process in several panchayat unions.

At the Narikudi panchayat union office in Virudhunagar district, Aruppukottai Deputy Superintendent of Police Venkatesan was assaulted with a sharp weapon during the clash between cadres of the rival Dravidian parties. Violence was reported in the Uthangarai panchayat union of Krishnagiri district and at Morappur of the neighbouring Dharmapuri district. Elections were deferred in both places.

The victory of the AIADMK-led front was apparently possible due to cross-voting on the part of the Opposition, especially the DMK. An obvious instance was the Pudukottai DP council.

The DMK-led alliance had 13 members out of 22 in the Pudukottai district panchayat. The expectation, prior to the day’s polling, was that the DMK nominee would romp home easily. But, it was the AIADMK’s nominee, T. Jayalakshmi, who emerged the winner, securing the confidence of 12 members against 9 votes scored by the DMK candidate in the election. Three councillors belonging to the DMK-Congress voted in her favour.

A similar pattern could be seen in many panchayat unions. As per an estimate on the basis of wards won, the DMK should be ahead by at least 20 PUs. But, eventually, the AIADMK took control of 15 more PUs than the DMK, without taking into account the number of PUs won by the former’s allies.

The development disturbed the Opposition and the Communist Party of India, one of the allies of the DMK, termed it a “murder of democracy”. In a statement, R. Mutharasan, secretary of the State unit of the CPI, accused the ruling party of having disturbed law and order in Watrap panchayat union of Sivaganga district and forced the deferment of the poll.

On the issue of cross-voting, Kovai Sathyan, spokesperson of the AIADMK, argued that this only reflected the lack of confidence of members of the DMK. “Those who voted for us are not gullible persons and they have realised that joining hands with the AIADMK will only serve the interests of those who elected them,” he said.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2020 3:57:45 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/cross-voting-lends-edge-to-aiadmk-led-front/article30546725.ece

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