DMK, AIADMK Mayoral candidates to lock horns in urban local body polls

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Ahead of the Tamil Nadu urban local body elections to be held on February 19, Ward No. 38 in the Coimbatore Corporation will see the DMK and the AIADMK Mayoral candidates pitted against each other.

AIADMK Mayoral candidate, Sharmila Chandrashekhar, is pitted against DMK’s veteran leader Amirthavalli Shanmugasundaram, who was the President of Vadavalli panchayat for five years, before it was merged with the Coimbatore civic body.

Both the DMK and the AIADMK Mayoral candidates for the Coimbatore Corporation are popular local leaders.

Tamil Nadu Electricity Minister, Shenthil Balaji, who is in-charge of Coimbatore district for the DMK, is campaigning for Amirthavalli, while former Minister and senior AIADMK leader S.P. Velumani is campaigning for Sharmila.

Amirthavalli is incidentally the wife of DMK leader V.M. Shanmugasundaram, who lost the 2021 Assembly elections against AIADMK leader Amman K. Arjunan from the Coimbatore North Assembly constituency.

A fierce political contest between the Mayoral candidates of the two Dravidian parties is expected in Ward 38, which comes under the Coimbatore North Assembly constituency.

Immediately after the defeat in the 2021 state Assembly elections, DMK’s V.M. Shanmugasundaram and his supporters had started the groundwork for the corporation council constituency and had projected his wife Amirthavalli as the party’s Mayoral candidate.

Senthil Balaji, who is in charge of Coimbatore, also promised Amirthavali Shanmugasundaram that she would be DMK’s Mayoral candidate in the urban local body polls.

AIADMK candidate Sharmila Chandrashekharan has the support and blessings of former Municipal Administration Minister, S.P. Velumani, who is in charge of the party for Coimbatore constituency, announced her candidature to take on Amirthavalli.

With Senthil Balaji, a Cabinet minister in the M.K. Stalin-led government and S.P. Velumani, a former Minister in the previous AIADMK government putting up candidates, the fight in Ward 38 of Coimbatore Corporation has turned into a major prestige battle for the two Dravidian parties.

Both the parties have not left any stone unturned in the area and allegations and counter-allegations are rife across the ward.

Bhoominathan, 48, a teacher in Coimbatore and a Ward 38 voter, told IANS, “The political fight is tough and both are popular local leaders in the area. The AIADMK has an edge as the Coimbatore North constituency was won by the party and this ward comes under it. However, Amirthavalli Shandmugasundaram is a popular DMK leader and has a great grassroot connect. But both parties have not taken care of the major issue facing this area such as drinking water. We get drinking water once in five or six days and you can see serpentine queues before the people receive water.”

He said there are several projects, including that of the Union government’s ‘Jal Jeevan Mission’ to ensure regular drinking water supply and added that the people are unhappy with both parties not implementing their poll promises.

With two days left for the civic body election, both Dravidian parties are asking for votes the final time and with February 17 being the last day for campaigning, both the AIADMK and DMK candidates are trying to garner as much public support as possible.

Tamil Nadu State Election Commission has constituted four flying squads in the area comprising of Police, Revenue and Election Commission officials to make sure that freebies, including cash are not distributed, by the respective party candidates and their parties to lure voters.

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