CHENNAI: A multi-cornered contest is on the cards for the urban local body elections in Tamil Nadu scheduled for February 19 with opposition parties, which were with the AIADMK till a few days ago, set to take on the ruling DMK.
The DMK continued to project a picture of unity and managed to retain its allies with the hope of repeating its victory in the Assembly election last year.
The Dravidian major retained the lion's share of about 165 wards with regard to Chennai Corporation and is eyeing for the indirect election of Mayor with absolute strength on its own while apportioning the remaining 35 seats to its allies - Congress, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) and the Left parties.
Upset over the meagre allocation of seats in Coimbatore, the Left parties decided to contest from 11 out of 15 wards in Kannampalayam town panchayat with the support of KMDK, another ally of the DMK.
The DMK fielded Sameena Selvam, widow of party functionary Selvam who was murdered in Madipakkam on Tuesday, from Ward 188 at Madipakkam here.
The ruling party's youth wing member Paruthi Ilamsuruthi, son of former State minister Paruthi Ilamvazhuthi, has been nominated for Ward 99 and he would take on former IAS officer Sivakami, who was roped in by the AIADMK.
The party fielded R Priya, daughter of former legislator from Perambur Sengai Sivam, from Ward 74 at Thiru Vi Ka Nagar here.
Chief Minister M K Stalin's son and Chepauk legislator Udhayanidhi Stalin's close aide Chitrasu has been nominated to contest from Ward 110.
At Maduravoyal, the DMK fielded Hemalatha, wife of MLA K Ganapathy, from Ward 150.
A senior DMK leader claimed that his party took great efforts to accommodate members from all communities in the Corporation.
Apart from the DMK, the AIADMK and BJP nominated transgenders for this election.
While DMK's R Ganga would contest from Ward 37 of Vellore, AIADMK's Jayadevi would contest from Ward 112 here and Rajamma of the BJP would seek election from Thiru Vi Ka Nagar.
Like the BJP, Dr S Ramadoss-led Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) which was in alliance with the AIADMK during the Assembly poll, and the DMDK have decided to contest on their own.
Other parties like actor Kamal Haasan's Makkal Needhi Maiam, Naam Tamilar Katchi of actor-director Seeman and Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam are also in the fray.
The election would also see first timers like 94-year-old Kamakshi Subramaniyam, who filed her nomination papers from Ward 174 (Besant Nagar and Adyar here) and Ilavarasi Durairaj (aged 22) from the DMK, the youngest candidate to file her nomination from Ward 136 (Kodambakkam) of Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC).
Of the 200 wards in GCC, 16 have been reserved for each of the Scheduled Caste (general) and SC (women) candidates while 84 are reserved for women (general).
The election would be held to fill 12,838 posts in 21 corporations, 138 municipalities, 490 town panchayats and 649 urban local bodies.
The final list of candidates would be announced on February 7 and counting of votes taken up on February 22.
The entire election process would be completed by February 24.
Today being the last day for filing of nominations, several thousands of candidates from major political parties besides independents filed their papers.
Immediately after his wedding this morning, BJP's N Vinodh Kumar, accompanied by his wife, rushed to the Chennai Corporation zonal office at Alandur, in wedding attire and filed the nomination papers seeking to contest from ward 162 in Chennai Corporation.
The BJP is contesting from all the 200 wards in the Corporation.
The AIADMK, claiming it could not meet the expectations of the BJP during the seat-sharing negotiations, is also contesting from all the wards in Chennai and in other civic bodies.
DMK candidate for 8th ward in Pudukottai Anuradha came on a bullock cart and filed her papers while another DMK candidate Shalini arrived to file her papers to the accompaniment of Chenda Melam in Dharapuram.
With the process of filing the papers over today, AIADMK co-coordinator and former Chief Minister K Palaniswami announced to hit the campaign trail from February 7.
He would tour the State till February 15.