Fierce contest on cards for urban local body polls in TN

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The urban local body elections in Tamil Nadu to be held after a decade will witness a tough fight between the ruling DMK-led alliance and the opposition AIADMK alliance.

The urban polls in the state are to be held in a single phase on February 19.

The political entity of the powerful Vanniyar community, Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) which is contesting the elections on its own, will have to prove the influence it has in the grassroots in north Tamil Nadu. The PMK was an alliance partner of the AIADMK in the 2021 assembly elections and part of the NDA coalition but in the rural local body elections to nine districts held on October 20 and 21, the party fought the polls separately.

Small political parties like the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) of actor turned politician Vijayakant, Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) of actor, politician Kamal Haasan and Naam Tamilar Katchi (NTK) of another actor, director turned politician Seeman will have to prove their presence in this election. The MNM and NTK drew blanks in the rural local body polls giving Kamal Haasan a major blow to his political ambitions.

Another major factor that political analysts are keenly watching is the entry of Vijay and his fans association. In the rural local body polls, independent candidates supported by Vijay fans had made incredible victories without using even the flag and the symbol of Vijay fans association. The million-dollar question is whether Vijay fans will repeat the same in the urban local body elections.

Poll pundits are of the opinion that the DMK alliance will have a cakewalk just like it had swept the rural local body elections of October 2021.

The AIADMK which ruled Tamil Nadu for ten years at a stretch from 2011 to 2021 lost the assembly elections leaving the party devastated. The rift among the two top leaders of the party, K. Palaniswami and O. Pannerselvam, both former Chief Ministers and the mainstay of the party, is one of the reasons for the poor show of the AIADMK in the rural local body elections and the one major issue plaguing the party in the run-up to the urban local body polls.

Estranged leader of the AIADMK, V.K. Sasikala is also desperately trying for a comeback to the party but she is facing several bottlenecks even though a section of the party leadership wants to bring her into the fold.

The urban local body elections are considered a major turning point in the scheme of things for the DMK, AIADMK, and small political parties as well as national parties like the Congress and the BJP.

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