The decision to go solo by TN BJP has proved right. It has emerged as the third-largest party in the just-concluded urban local body elections in Tamil Nadu.
BJP has decided to go alone to test its reach and give the grassroots cadres an opportunity. The ruling DMK swept the corporation, municipal and town panchayat elections while the AIADMK found itself in the runners-up position, followed by the BJP at number 3. The result comes as a shot in the arm for the BJP, which was not taken seriously in the state’s political equations so far.
BJP’s seat share of 1.76% in 2011, across corporations, municipalities and town panchayats, rose to 2.4% in 2022. The party won 226 of the 12,816 seats across these segments in 2011, and it increased to 308 out of 12,838 seats this time. In Chennai, the vote share of DMK plus allies is 46 per cent, while the BJP with no ally polled 31 per cent of votes.
TN BJP chief K. Annamalai said, “Wherever the BJP has no people’s representatives, the party has made inroads into those areas: Cuddalore, Vellore, Madurai, Chennai. In many places, the BJP has lost by a slender margin. In Chennai, in around 30 wards, the BJP candidates have finished as runners up. In the Kongu region, the vote share secured by the AIADMK and the BJP proves that if both parties come together, the Kongu region will be ours. We have secured 15 per cent votes in Coimbatore.”
It won seats in Ariyalur, Krishnagiri, Ranipet, Cuddalore, Madurai, Kancheepuram, Hosur, Thanjavur, Dindigul, Sivakasi and Vellore. BJP has won more wards than Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi, Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India-Marxist and Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam. Congress was able to do well because of its alliance with the DMK.
Annamalai tweeted, “We are officially the 3rd largest party after DMK & AIADMK in TN. Sincerely thank our brave & hardworking Karyakarta’s for their groundwork and all of our leaders for their inspiration. Though we didn’t win, the vote percentage we got makes me happy.”
He said the BJP’s candidates had fought in eight-pronged electoral fields and against an alliance of 13 parties. “These 13 parties do not have any ideology and are indulging only in casteist and religious politics,” he said.
Former Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan said, “The election is a turning point for the BJP. There will be a new perspective in TN politics now. The chances of BJP providing Ramaraj rule in the state are very bright now.” It is learnt that DMK lost deposits to BJP candidates in 60 places and polled a single vote in Eraniel.
The party has opened its account in Greater Chennai Corporation with a lone victory. BJP candidate Uma Anandan won in ward 134, defeating her Congress rival. Lotus bloomed in Eraniel and Mandaikadu panchayats of Kanyakumari.
DMDK, PMK, Naam Tamizhar katchi and Kamal Hassan’s MNM fail to make visible impacts in the polls. At least 27 nominations of BJP candidates were rejected during scrutiny at the insistence of DMK.”Money power, distribution of gifts, cash, police and official machinery, actors Vijay, Surya fan clubs 13 party coalition are the reason behind DMK’s massive win,” says a BJP worker.