Independents hold key in many councils

Of the 18 wards, DMK and AIADMK bagged seven each, while PMK won in two wards and independents in two wards. As the DMK has registered a thumping victory in all other nine town panchayats in the district, the party is hopeful that independents would pledge their support to it on their own.
Independents hold key in many councils
Representative Image

Coimbatore

Independents hold the key in several local bodies in Western Tamil Nadu, where political parties have failed to secure a majority.
Perhaps, many such local bodies are also going through intense backdoor lobbying by the political parties to garner the support of independents, say political observers.  
In Dharmapuri’s Harur Town Panchayat, the fate of DMK and AIADMK hangs in balance as both the parties have secured an equal win with seven wards each. For any of the parties to seize power in this town panchayat, the support of two independents is crucial and may be the deciding factor.
Of the 18 wards, DMK and AIADMK bagged seven each, while PMK won in two wards and independents in two wards. As the DMK has registered a thumping victory in all other nine town panchayats in the district, the party is hopeful that independents would pledge their support to it on their own.  
Similarly, none of the political parties secured a majority in several other local bodies, including the newly upgraded Tharamangalam Municipality in Salem, Kelamangalam Town Panchayat in Krishnagiri and Avinashi Town Panchayat in Tirupur.
“With the AIADMK being crushed to defeat, it’s the DMK, which has been evincing interest in grabbing the support of the independents in most wards,” said a DMK functionary in Tirupur.
Mopperipalayam presents a contrast
While this was the scenario in many of the local bodies where none of the political parties has secured absolute majority, an even more interesting poll outcome has unfolded in Coimbatore’s Mopperipalayam Town Panchayat.
Here, independents won 10 wards, out of the total 15 wards, while curtailing the ruling party’s victory to mere five wards. Other parties have drawn a blank.
Among the 10 independents, 9 contested under the umbrella of ‘Maatram’ (change) led by B Sasikumar, who runs Uyir Social Service Centre, while one candidate won separately.
“Our candidates were approached by a political party seeking support, but we stood united without getting influenced. I am planning to contest for the post of town panchayat president. Our aim is to make this neighbourhood into a role model panchayat in Tamil Nadu,” said Sasi Kumar.
These independents were already a household name in the locality as they have created a ‘vanam’ (forest) by planting trees, run a free hearse service, volunteered during COVID-19 pandemic and involved in several other appreciable philanthropic activities.

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