Chennai, Mar 4 (PTI) All the 20 mayoral candidates of the ruling DMK and its ally Congress’ nominee, an autorickshaw driver, on Friday were elected in indirect polls to the top posts in civic bodies in Tamil Nadu and they took charge.
Indirect polls to elect chairpersons of municipalities and town panchayats, however, witnessed tussles and high drama in several regions while DMK ward members, violating the party’s diktat, defeated nominees of alliance parties in a string of local bodies.
It includes posts allotted by the DMK in civic bodies for elected representatives of allies including the CPI(M) and Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK).
After angered ruling party’s partners cried foul, DMK president and Chief Minister M K Stalin expressed profound regret to allies and instructed his party ward members who defeated nominees of alliance parties to immediately resign from their posts. Stalin warned them that if they did not quit, they would be expelled from the party’s primary membership.
The DMK chief asked his party people to resign from such posts, earmarked for allies, and meet him later.
He instructed district secretaries and those in-charge to take quick action in this regard. Stalin chided such party men for besmirching DMK’s fair name by taking away seats allotted to allies.
After Stalin’s action, allies thanked him profusely and said it was a historic step that would further increase their faith on him and promote goodwill.
Following the party chief’s stern message, the DMK apparatus swung into action and suspended its Poonamallee town secretary M Ravikumar for violating party discipline. It also relieved N Suresh Rajan, a DMK veteran from his post of secretary of Kanyakumari east party district.
He was replaced by R Mahesh, who was elected as mayor of Nagercoil Corporation, following a closely contested fight between the DMK and BJP.
The scenario in which party men worked against official nominees was also witnessed in parties including the AIADMK, which expelled 6 of its workers in Villupuram district. It also dismissed 8 of its functionaries belonging to Salem rural party district for working in support of the DMK candidates.
Earlier in the day, Priya Rajan, the ruling party’s nominee was elected unopposed and she took charge as Chennai mayor in the presence of state ministers Ma Subramanian, a former mayor, and P K Sekar Babu.
The 28-year old woman is the first Dalit person to become the mayor of Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC). A postgraduate in commerce, she is also the youngest to assume office as Chennai mayor.
She was administered the oath of office by Principal Secretary and GCC Commissioner Gagandeep Singh Bedi at the Ripon Building. Sekar Babu and Subramanian presented a mace to Priya, the third woman mayor of Chennai and 49th mayor of the corporation.
All the 200 councillors elected to the GCC in the recent urban civic polls were administered oath on March 2.
In Thanjavur district’s Kumbakonam, Congress nominee K Saravanan, an autorickshaw driver, was elected mayor and he assumed office. He is the first mayor of Kumbakonam corporation.
After the government upgraded Kumbakonam municipality to a municipal corporation in December 2021, civic polls were held in February this year. Saravanan was presented a sceptre by a senior official.
In Madurai, DMK’s Indrani was elected mayor of the temple city and she took charge in the presence of Finance Minister Palanivel Thiaga Rajan and officials.
VCK chief Thol Thirumavalavan in a tweet had urged DMK president and Chief Minister Stalin to guard ‘coalition dharma’ by directing DMK candidates, who won in local bodies earmarked for allies, to tender their resignations.
The CPI(M) had said that the victory for its nominees and other allies was snatched away by ruling party’s ward members. For all the positions of municipality and town panchayat chairpersons allotted to it, its nominees were defeated, the Marxist party had said urging the DMK brass to fulfill the duty of protecting the principles that governed a coalition.
The VCK leader also thanked Stalin for the successful election of his party’s nominees in Jayamkondam municipality and Pennadam town panchayat.
Minister Sekar Babu tweeted saying Rajan’s election as mayor of Chennai is the outcome of the relentless hardwork of Chief Minister M K Stalin for people’s welfare in the past nine months. People voted for the DMK in polls to local bodies to ensure good governance in civic bodies as well, he said. PTI VGN SA SA
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Source: The Print