Good governance trumps Tamil Nadu’s caste dynamics?

Barring Orathanadu town panchayat in Thanjavur, where TTV Dinakaran’s AMMK edged past the DMK and AIADMK alike, the overwhelming performance of Stalin’s DMK across the State demonstrated that caste dynamics was no match to good governance and social justice ideology in the electoral scheme of things.
Good governance trumps Tamil Nadu’s caste dynamics?

Chennai

Caste was one big casualty of the just-concluded urban local body polls. In decimating the AIADMK-led opposition in areas where the party had fared poorly in the past couple of decades, the DMK also busted the myth that a few numerically dominant castes in western and southern Tamil Nadu were traditionally inclined towards the AIADMK.
Barring Orathanadu town panchayat in Thanjavur, where TTV Dinakaran’s AMMK edged past the DMK and AIADMK alike, the overwhelming performance of Stalin’s DMK across the State demonstrated that caste dynamics was no match to good governance and social justice ideology in the electoral scheme of things.
The literal sweep in Coimbatore, Erode and Salem has proven that loyalty of Gounders, a numerically dominant intermediate caste, leaders from which are aplenty and wield enormous influence in AIADMK, has helped the DMK break what was privately bragged about by AIADMK regional strongmen as caste jinx, as it did in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections (DMK won all MP seats there).
In the same vein, the DMK juggernaut in Dharmapuri district, considered a Vanniyar bastion, is also testimony to Stalin’s governance outweighing caste loyalty. That the DMK managed to capture Dharmapuri municipality after 21 years, that too by forcing forfeiture of election deposit for PMK in 24 of the 30 wards it contested, is a valid case in point. Winning all 10 town panchayats in PMK’s own backyard is no cakewalk even by contemporary political standards. The scenario was no different in Villupuram, Cuddalore and Tiruvannamalai districts, all so-called Vanniyar strongholds in the north, either.
The triumph of ideology and development over caste was there to see even in far off Theni and Madurai in the south too. Considered Mukkulathor bastions in the south, Madurai and its suburbs like Usilampatti and neighbouring Theni district (native of O Panneerselvam), also saw the DMK flex its muscles.
A DMK senior unwilling to be quoted admitted to the party suffering defeats in the past in the same areas despite fielding candidates from majority communities and said the dynamics have changed. “We saw a seismic shift in the people’s mindset during the campaign. CM’s image and reputation of the government preceded all other factors,” said a DMK senior from the region, unwilling to be quoted.
“The very idea that Tamils voted on the basis of caste was a myth. The election results have confirmed that Tamil Nadu people never did. It is proof that the entire state has recognised good governance and endorsed the social justice and transparent all-inclusive governance of Stalin,” said writer and DMK spokesperson Manushyaputhiran.
DMK consolidates base further in core city, edges out AIADMK to GCC’s extended areas
The ruling DMK has not only wiped out AIADMK in the Greater Chennai Corporation but has also consolidated its stronghold — the core city areas — by edging out the latter to the added areas.
Out of the 200 wards in the city corporation, DMK led alliance won 178 seats. Of them, DMK alone won 153 seats while its ally Congress won 13 seats. CPM and VCK won four seats each while MDMK got two seats. CPI and IUML won a seat each.
AIADMK which had won a record 168 seats in 2011 was reduced to 15 seats in this polls. Five independents won in Tiruvottiyur, Madhavaram, Ambattur and Shollinganallur zones. BJP got a lone seat in ward 134 in West Mambalam.
The urban local body poll results almost resemble the last year’s assembly election where the DMK won all the 16 assembly constituencies in the city. Ironically, the AIADMK had lost even in its strongholds like Royapuram and RK Nagar assembly constituencies which fall in the Tondiarpet zone. The 15 seats won by AIADMK mostly fall in the added areas - Thiruvottiyur, Manali, Madhavaram, Ambattur, Valasaravakkam, Alandur, Perungudi and Shollinganallur.
“Not winning any ward in the RK Nagar Assembly constituency which was represented by former chief minister J Jayalalithaa and Royapuram Assembly seat is a big disappointment. Money distribution by the DMK to the voters played a major role in the election results,” alleged an AIADMK leader.
A DMK leader in North Chennai said AIADMK won a few seats in the added areas due to various factors including rebel candidates and a slender margin. “In ward 7 of Tiruvottiyur zone, AIADMK won because of a DMK rebel candidate who polled 1,200 votes. In Manali zones, the wards have less electorate and we lost two wards by a margin of fewer than 100 votes,” he said, adding DMK government has lined up various developmental works for the added areas of the city corporation which will be implemented in the coming months.

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