Chennai: Replicating its success in the Assembly polls five months ago, ruling AIADMK on Friday put up an impressive show in the civic polls bagging mayoral posts in seven out of ten corporations and surging far ahead of arch rival DMK in a majority of the local bodies seats.
In the direct election of Mayors, introduced by the AIADMK government after it returned to power, the party’s candidates triumphed in Coimbatore, Erode, Tirupur, Tiruchirappalli, Tuticorin, Tiurunelveli and Vellore and established unassailable leads in Chennai, Madurai and Salem.
Over 1.3 lakh posts were at stake in the 17 and 19 October polls, the first acid test of popularity for chief minister and AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa after the assembly elections.
Supporters of AIADMK wearing masks of party chief J Jayalalithaa during canvassing for local body election, in Chennai. PTI
According to the latest State Election Commission figures, AIADMK has won 6,505 civic posts out of the 14,854 for which results were declared. DMK was at a distant second with 3,315 posts and independents (2885).
It was yet another jolt for DMK after being handed down one of its worst electoral defeats in the assembly elections which saw it even lose the status of the principal opposition.
Congress, which had faced a poll on its own in the state after a long gap, has won a paltry 663 posts.
The drubbing to DMK comes a day after it lost the assembly by-election from Tiruchirappalli (West) to AIADMK.
Both AIADMK and DMK faced the electorate at the grassroot level without any alliance unlike in the assembly polls when they had formed combines.
In her reaction, Jayalalithaa said the outcome was along expected lines.
“The results are a proof that my government has won the goodwill of the people by implementing AIADMK’s poll promises within a short period of five months,” she said pledging to make Tamil Nadu as a model state.
DMK chief M Karunanidhi down played the party’s poor showing, saying it was nothing new for a ruling party to win the civic polls.
The battle for civic bodies had assumed triangular proportions after AIADMK’s jilted allies DMDK and Left parties formed a Third Front to face the polls. DMDK and CPI (M) won two Municipal chairmen posts each besides others.
AIADMK’s remarkable show came amid allegations of violence and irregularities by opposition parties with some of them even approaching the High Court.