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By Mayilvagnan V
COIMBATORE: Barely nine months after the DMK lost 10 assembly seats in Coimbatore district, the ruling party made a comeback, sweeping Coimbatore corporation, seven municipalities and 31 out of 33 town panchayats in the district.
The ruling party is all set to adorn the seat of Coimbatore corporation mayor for the first time since the civic body was created three decades ago. The DMK alliance bulldozed into AIADMK fortress of Coimbatore corporation by winning 96 out of the 100 wards. DMK contested in 76 wards and won all but ward 38, where AIADMK candidate Sharmila Chandrasekar, wife of Velumani’s associate Chandrasekar won. Alliance parties of DMK also registered a thumping victory. Congress won all nine wards it has contested. CPI and CPM both won from four wards each. MDMK candidates won from three wards.
While one ward was won by an SDPI candidate who contested as an independent, the opposition AIADMK managed to win only three wards. The principal opposition party has been pushed to fifth place in the city council, as Congress, CPM and CPI have more councillors than AIADMK. That renders AIADMK without the opposition party status in the council, an irony for a party that held the post of mayor thrice.
In a personal blow to AIADMK heavyweight S P Velumani, DMK has won in ward 92 of the city corporation where the former minister has been living for years. In addition, AIADMK has lost in Perur and Thondamuthur town panchayats too, both falling in Velumani’s Thondamuthur assembly segment.
State electricity minister V Senthil Balaji said that the victory was a recognition accorded by the people for achievements of chief minister M K Stalin in the last nine months. “We have won 98% of the seats in Coimbatore district. The credit goes entirely to CM and his welfare projects,” he said. “That Coimbatore was an AIADMK fort was a mirage,” he added.
Stalin’s multiple visits to Coimbatore after the assembly poll debacle, his assurance for development of the region and his thrust on bringing industrial investments to Coimbatore paid off. At the same time, DMK men note that the groundwork done by Senthil Balaji for the past three months played a crucial role. A senior party functionary termed Senthil Balaji’s deputation to Coimbatore as a surgical strike by Stalin.
The gambit by BJP to part ways with AIADMK, ironically, paid off for the DMK instead of the opposition parties. The saffron party split votes in many wards, thus denting the prospects of the AIADMK. AIADMK has not only faced a humiliating defeat but also lost deposit in 15 wards. At many places the party was relegated to third position, behind BJP while in wards 17 and 83 AIADMK was pushed to fourth spot.
(With inputs from Devanathan Veerappan)



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