Tamilnadu Local body Elections – BJP fares better than Left, PMK and MDMK?

via By V Shanmuganathan - Organiser published on November 5, 2011

Local bodies are the nurseries of democracy. Strong local bodies are necessary for strengthening the democracy and for proper implementation of government’s schemes. Recently there were local body elections in Tamil Nadu and results were announced on October 21, 2011. People were surprised when they saw the election results. BJP recorded its presence by winning better seats.

Succeeding Nagercoil is well known but grabbing Mettupalayam municipality from Congress by a margin of over 2000 votes shows that BJP has support in the western belt. Inspite of “highly regionalised politics” in Tamil Nadu, BJP could win four corporation wards, 37 municipal wards, chairmanship of two municipalities, and 13 town panchayats, 181 town panchayat wards, two district panchayat wards and 31 wards of the Panchayat Unions. In total, it has won 270 of the total 19,720 posts for which elections were held. It is a long way to go but a good beginning for BJP. BJP can feel comparatively better off because it could at least secure chairmanship of two municipalities – Nagercoil and Mettupa-layam. Its future in Tamil Nadu is getting brighter.

For the first time in the electoral history, many of the Dravidian parties including the DMK have contested the local body elections without an alliance. This gave an opportunity to the people of Tamil Nadu to know the real strength of the political parties. Local body elections have some unique features.

Article 40 of the Constitution directs the state government to establish panchayats to serve as institutions of village self-government. The popularly elected village council or gram panchayat is basic unit. The district council of Zilla Parishad is the top level of the system. Its jurisdiction included bloc councils within a district.

The voters will look at the candidates instead of the party in local bodies. So a huge number of independent candidates not only contested but won the elections also. Many people could vote for the ruling party as funds for government schemes will be allotted to local bodies headed by the ruling party.


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