Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu rural local body polls: Results and trends take AIADMK by surprise

Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami being greeted by party workers at the AIADMK office in Chennai.

Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami being greeted by party workers at the AIADMK office in Chennai.   | Photo Credit: S_R_Raghunathan

AIADMK had been hoping for an overwhelming mandate

The initial trends and results of the rural local bodies (RLBs) in 27 districts appear to have taken the ruling AIADMK by surprise.

After losing narrowly in the Vellore Parliamentary election and recording success in the byelections to the Nanguneri and Vikravandi Assembly constituencies, the party had hoped to get an overwhelming mandate in the polls to the RLBs.

Besides, the popular perception prior to polling was that the AIADMK was well-prepared to meet the elections, whereas the DMK was a reluctant entrant and had devoted its time and energy largely to filing case after case against the elections.

A senior functionary of the ruling party explained that the organisation was under the impression that the decision not to conduct the polls to all local bodies – rural and urban – would be beneficial to its prospects as the party’s vote base was greater in rural areas than in urban ones.

 

“But the indications have proved our calculations wrong,” the office-bearer admitted, referring to the defeat of the daughter of former Minister and Ramanathapuram Member of Parliament A. Anwhar Raajhaa in a panchayat union ward.

Anti-incumbency factor

A young office-bearer of the AIADMK said his party’s showing should be seen against the backdrop of eight years of anti-incumbency and the damage that several natural disasters like Cyclones Ockhi and Gaja had caused to many rural parts of the State in the last few years. In addition, despite the presence of the BJP in its front, the ruling party’s performance was “creditable”.

 

Among the factors that have contributed to the subdued performance of the ruling party is the adverse impact generated by the controversy over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), acknowledged the ruling party’s senior functionary.

Endorsing this position, G. Palanithurai, panchayat raj expert, said the CAA row had led to political mobilisation against the BJP and the AIADMK across the State, and this had permeated even into the rural areas.

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Printable version | Feb 27, 2020 12:48:47 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/tamil-nadu-rural-local-body-polls-results-and-trends-take-aiadmk-by-surprise/article30465039.ece

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