SALEM: The DMK is going all out to wrest the Salem City Municipal Corporation (SCMC), the home turf of former chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami. DMK sources said winning SCMC is critical as it had lost 10 Assembly seats in the region.
The only DMK MLA from the district R Rajendran (Salem North), along with SCMC officials, collected grievance petitions from people in all the 60 wards and handed them over to Municipal Administration Minister K N Nehru.
Sources said senior party functionaries urged the minister to allot Rs 100 crore to SCMC to improve amenities like roads and street lights.
A list of winnable candidates has been sent to the high command, sources added. The DMK wants to capture all the 14 wards in Suramangalam where Palaniswami resides.
Speaking to TNIE, a senior DMK functionary said Chief Minister M K Stalin’s performance over the last six months have made him popular and expressed confidence that it would result in votes.
“There will be a tough battle between us and the AIADMK.”
AIADMK Salem urban district secretary G Venkatachalam banks on data.
“In the Assembly elections, we secured more votes than the DMK in 46 out of the 60 wards in SCMC. We will get more than 50 wards and capture SCMC. Former chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami implemented schemes worth Rs 400 crores in SCMC. We will explain the mistakes of the DMK and seek votes from the public.”
Rajendran said his party was in a strong position to win the elections.
“People accept our leader as the best chief minister. We expect to win all the 60 wards. In the past 10 years, the AIADMK government has not even provided good roads to the residents of Salem. I visited various places and seen many wards that do not have roads and proper sewage facilities. In the past six months after DMK came to power, we started to provide these amenities,” he added.
Skyview of the corporation
Salem Municipality was upgraded as City Municipal Corporation in 1994 when J Jayalalithaa was chief minister.
The SCMC is divided into four zones as Kondalampatti, Hasthampatti, Suramangalam, and Ammapet.
The SCMC comprises 60 wards across Salem South, Salem West, and Salem North Assembly constituencies.
DMK’s Sudamani became the first Mayor of SCMC in 1996.
The party won 38 wards and alliance partners won 12. Till 2011, DMK had a very strong presence in SCMC.
Even when DMK lost power in 2001, it gained more seats in the urban local body elections. In 2001, DMK won 23 wards while ally PMK won three and got the support from two independents.
The mayor was elected directly and AIADMK’s R Sureshkumar emerged victorious.
In 2006, the DMK alliance won 42 seats and Rekha Priyadharshini became Mayor. In 2011, however, the DMK managed just eight councillors