CHENNAI: With NDA allies MDMK and DMDK announcing their support for the BJP and the PMK likely follow suit, battlelines have been drawn for the by-elections to the local bodies scheduled for September 18. It will be AIADMK vs BJP in most seats except in a few places like Coimbatore where the CPM has already announced its candidates. The CPI is also likely to contest in a few local bodies. The DMK and its allies Congress, VCK, Manithaneya Makkal Katchi and Puthiya Thamizhagam have decided to boycott the by-elections.
By-elections are being held for the mayorship of three corporations — Coimbatore, Tuticorin and Tirunelveli, chairpersons for eight municipalities and seven town panchayats, 12 corporation wards, 53 wards in municipalities, 101 wards in town panchayats, 11 district panchayat wards and 83 panchayat union wards. Chennai will witness by-elections for wards 35 and 166.
DMDK founder Vijaykant announced his party’s ‘whole-hearted’ support to the BJP on Wednesday after consulting the functionaries of his party. PMK sources said the BJP leaders had approached them seeking support. The party is likely to announce its support formally on Thursday. The New Justice Party led by A C Shanmugam had also announced its support for the BJP.
Meanwhile, TNCC president B S Gnanadesikan told mediapersons that the Congress would boycott the elections. As usual, the ruling AIADMK was first off the blocks, with general secretary J Jayalalithaa announcing her party’s candidate on August 29 and all of them filing their nomination papers on Tuesday. BJP’s candidates will file their on Thursday.
Meanwhile, BJP president Tamilisai Soundararajan released the party’s first list of candidates for the elections. It includes nominees for Corporation ward councillor (9), municipal ward councillor (26), town panchayat chairpersons (6), town panchayat wards (31), district panchayat councillors (6), panchayat union ward members (5), panchayat union councillors (21) and village panchayat members (4).
In Chennai, the BJP has fielded T N Balaji alias Lakshmi Narasimhan in ward 35 while Neethi Xavier will contest from ward 166.
The town panchayat candidates are: Abiramam in Ramanathapuram district (Mahendra Bhoopathi), Omalur in Salem district (R Manikandan), Thirumuruganpoondi in Tirupur district (R K Shanmugam), Madathukulam in Tirupur district (N Muthukumar), Sulur in Coimbatore district (P Ravichandran) and Irugur in Coimbatore district (K Dhanalakshmi).