DMK chief MK Stalin has claimed victory in ongoing local body elections in Tamil Nadu, declaring his party had won "despite ruling party's (the AIADMK) anarchy and misuse of power". Mr Stalin, who is also Leader of the Opposition in the state, also said the results had "proven people's power strong enough to win against any excesses". The DMK's Dayanidhi Maran, a three-time Lok Sabha MP, also claimed victory, referring to the results as a "referendum on CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) and NRC (National Register of Citizens)".
Elections for 91,975 rural local body posts, including Panchayat Union and District Panchayat Union ward members, were held last month. At 10.45 pm the DMK was ahead in 1,997 Panchayat Union seats (out of 5,090) and 216 District Panchayat Union seats (out of 515). The AIADMK leads in 1,668 and 187 seats, respectively.
These polls are being seen by many as a precursor for Assembly polls expected in 2021.
"The DMK has won despite ruling party's anarchy and misuse of power... results prove people's power is strong enough to win against any excesses," MK Staling said today, adding that the people had expressed confidence in the DMK and disapproval towards the AIADMK.
"Local body poll results are a referendum on CAA and NRC. It is a clear message to people... they trust DMK," Dayanidhi Maran told NDTV, adding that his party would also win 2021 Assembly polls.
The counting process, which began 8 am yesterday, has not been without controversy.
On Thursday Mr Stalin accused the AIADMK of "conspiring" to stop his party's victory in the election. He pointed to Salem, which is also the Assembly seat of Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswamy, where he claimed result had been withheld despite completion of counting; the DMK was leading.
Earlier today news agency IANS quoted the Chief Minister as saying that vote counting was progressing smoothly. Mr Palaniswamy also denied claims of irregularities by MK Stalin.
The Madras High Court has directed State Election Commission to submit CCTV footage of counting activities across the state.
The polls, held after a gap of eight years, are the first local body elections since the deaths of the DMK's M Karunanidhi and the AIADMK's J Jayalalithaa, both towering leaders in state politics.
The DMK swept the state in Lok Sabha polls held earlier this year; the party won 37 of 38 seats leaving only one for the AIADMK, which had allied with the BJP. The AIADMK gained a measure of revenge in October by winning by-polls for two Assembly seats, both previously held by the DMK.
According to the Tamil Nadu State Election Commission (TNSEC) the first phase (December 27) saw polling of 76.19 per cent, and the second phase (December 30) saw 77.73 per cent.
With input from IANS