The election for the newly set-up Cuddalore corporation’s Mayor witnessed some tense moments for the DMK with the party’s official candidate R. Sundari challenged by a rebel candidate.
However, the party’s writ prevailed and Sundari was elected.
The fight was so intense that on Thursday evening, 11 newly-elected councillors, including one each from the AIADMK and the BJP, were whisked away to a resort in Puducherry by a rebel group of DMK owing allegiance to party’s district Treasurer, Gunashekaran. His wife G. Geetha was an aspirant for the Mayor post but the party leadership decided to field R. Sundari, the wife of city unit Secretary A. Raja.
Of the 45 councillors, 19 cast their votes in favour of Sundari while 12 voted for the rebel candidate Geetha. One vote was declared invalid.
Six AIADMK councillors abstained from voting. Of the 11 councillors who were kept in the resort, four managed to break free and vote but 7 were not able to participate.
Raja is reportedly close to state Minister, M.R.K. Panneerselvam who extended his full support to Sundari. DMK, being a cadre-based party, announced a whip for its councillors to vote for the party’s official candidate but the rebel candidate did not withdraw and fought the elections much to the dismay of the party leadership.
“This is an unprecedented development in our party. The rebellion will be strictly put down and this has reduced the glow of our victory across the state. Strict action will be taken against those who acted against the party’s dictum,” a senior DMK leader told IANS.
Of the 45 wards in the newly formed Cuddalore corporation, the DMK-led front won in 34 wards. While the DMK alone won in 27 seats, its allies, VCK and TVK, won in three seats each, and Congress in one.
Sundari was sworn in as Mayor on Friday with the Cuddalore corporation Secretary, N. Viswanathan administering the oath of office to her, while Panneerselvam handed over the ceremonial dress and mace to her.