TAMIL NADU

Focus shifts to Mayor’s seat

Special Correspondent

Sarubala Tondaiman has no intention to contest again

TIRUCHI: Just as the dust and heat of the Lok Sabha elections settles down, the focus has shifted to the Mayor’s seat vacated by Sarubala R.Tondaiman.

While Deputy Mayor M.Anbazhagan of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam has been holding charge in the absence of the Mayor, Congress cadres expect by-elections to be held for the post sooner than later. Mr.Anbazhagan would hold charge until such time the State Election Commission, vested with the responsibility of holding elections for the local bodies, takes a decision on holding fresh election for the Mayor from among the council members. Separately, by-elections would have to be held for ward 44 which was represented by Mrs.Tondaiman.

Mrs.Tondaiman, who was first elected Mayor in the direct elections in 2001 and re-elected in the indirect elections in 2006, resigned both as the Mayor and councillor as soon as she was nominated the party candidate for the Tiruchi Lok Sabha constituency. Though she has lost the Lok Sabha polls, Mrs.Tondaiman made it clear that she has no intention to return to the civic body, throwing open the race for contenders eyeing the Mayorship.

Though their numerical strength in the Corporation Council was much lower than the DMK, Congress cadres obviously expect a party nominee to be elected Mayor without any problem. “It is our legitimate right. The Tiruchi Mayor’s post was allotted to the Congress along with that of Coimbatore as part of a seat sharing arrangement reached with the DMK in the 2006 local body elections. We expect the arrangement to continue,” observed an office-bearer of the party.

Another party office-bearer expressed confidence that the matter would be settled between the high command of the two parties. “This is not a matter to be decided at the local level,” he said.

Given the strength of the political parties within the council, it should not be a problem for the DMK-Congress alliance nominee to be elected the new Mayor. The DMK commands a majority in the 60-member council with 26 councillors.

The Opposition AIADMK has 10 members, while the Congress has eight (excluding Mrs.Tondaiman), the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam four, the Communist Party of India three, the CPI (M) two, and the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam one.

There are five Independents in the council.

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