Voters verdict: Who is leading in the Tamil Nadu Local body polls?

The results of the rural local body polls that were held in Tamil Nadu have been getting unfolded since the morning hours of Tuesday - October 12, 2021, and powered by the tag of being the ruling party and implementing a slew of schemes, MK Stalin-led DMK has been holding the clear advantage for a landslide victory in the polls, that were held in two phases in nine districts, along with the by-polls in some districts.

The first and second phase of the polls were held on October 6 and October 9 respectively in nine districts - Kancheepuram, Chengalpattu, Kallakurichi, Villupuram, Ranipet, Vellore, Thirupathur, Tirunelveli, and Tenkasi. The polls were held to elect representatives for 27,003 postings, including 2,901 village panchayat presidents' posts and 22,581 village panchayat ward councillors. The votes were counted on Tuesday and the ruling DMK has been securing a lead across the nine districts.

Around 80,000 candidates had contested for 27,003 posts and the counting was done in 74 centres across the state. According to reports, out of the 80,000 candidates, 2981 of them got elected to various posts unopposed. As of 1 pm on Tuesday, the DMK was leading in 71 panchayat union ward member seats, 33 district panchayat ward member seats, 27 district councillor seats, and 57 union councillor seats.

On the other hand, the opposition ADMK was leading in 13 panchayat union ward member seats and independents were leading in four other panchayat union ward member seats. As of 4.30 pm, DMK was leading in 67 district councillor seats while ADMK was leading in four seats. During the same time, the ruling party kept a lead in 198 union councillor seats and ADMK was leading in 23 seats. 

The reports say that the DMK has recorded a magnificent victory by securing the district panchayats in all nine districts. DMK has been leading in 197 of the 1,381 panchayat union wards and its ally Congress leads in five wards. ADMK leads in 34 panchayat union wards while BJP leads in one. As of 5 pm, the DMK was leading in 88 of the 140 district panchayat wards and the ADMK was leading in three wards. 

The counting has been underway and the parties like DMDK, Naam Tamilar Katchi, and Makkal Needhi Maiam had faced debacles in the polls. The vote counting was done under CCTV surveillance. The first phase of the polls had recorded 77.4% of voter turnout while the successive phase had reported 78.5% of polling. 31,245 officials are involved in the counting process and 6,228 police personnel are deployed for duty in the counting centres in nine districts. 

Heavy security measures were deployed to make sure that the counting faces no disruptions. Tamil Nadu Election Commissioner Palani Kumar has said that the surveillance cameras have been installed at each of the counting centres and the results will be made available online, on the election commission website. The current trend suggests that the voters' verdict has been in favour of DMK in the local body polls while the ADMK and the rest of the parties are bracing up setbacks.