Chennai: The amendment for indirect elections to all local bodies including municipalities and town panchayats could be something to cheer for small parties and independents, whose chances to play a role in the election of local body chiefs rise as areas get smaller.
Smaller bodies like municipalities and town panchayats give more scope for smaller parties and independents as the number of voters could be a few thousand in those wards.
The small parties won just seven out of the 125 municipalities and 32 of the 629 town panchayats in direct elections in 2011. Now, they have opportunities to play a decisive role in more number of civic bodies where the contest is tight and they pick up a few wards.
PMK, PWA and BJP fancy their chances to win such smaller wards in areas where they are strong to have a say in indirect elections. However, the parties need to pick candidates with unflinching loyalty to check the possibility of winners crossing over to bigger parties or making individual choices against the party’s wish.
The PMK which has displaced actor Vijayakanth’s DMDK in the northern districts is now looking to show its dominance in the town panchayats of Vellore, Salem, Dharmapuri, Villupuram, Tiruvannamalai, Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram districts.
Last time, when the DMDK finished third with 10 per cent votes, the PMK won just 60 municipal wards and 109 wards in town panchayats.
The PWA has completed several rounds of discussion to finalise seat sharing at the union level and the latest was held at Dharmapuri on Wednesday. All the constituents of the People’s Welfare Alliance barring the CPI(M) contested separately in the last local body elections. The CPI (M) had seat adjustments with DMDK last time.
The PWA parties together won a total of 92 wards in municipalities and 228 wards in town panchayats, besides three municipalities. The BJP, seen as a urban party, has obtained 185 wards in town panchayats and 37 municipal wards.
Barring Chennai and Coimbatore, the party has taken roots in rural areas of the state and gets another chance before Parliament polls to establish itself at the grassroots level in south and western regions....