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Election to the 100 wards in Coimbatore Corporation is expected to be an interesting battle for more reasons than one.
The first is that the city’s 15 lakh-plus voters will be voting in local body elections after a gap of almost six years. In the last five years the voters did not have a local representative to air their ward-level grievance.
The second is that the city will have a woman mayor for the first time. The third is that Coimbatore district has all its 10 MLAs from the opposition AIADMK, while the party in power in the State is its arch rival the DMK.
And, the fourth reason is that the Council to-be will the first one with 50% woman representation.
As political parties draw their battle lines, it must be noted that the first and third Mayor were from the Congress – V. Gopalakrishnan and R. Venkatachalam. The second Mayor was T. Malaravan and last elected Council saw two mayors – first S.M. Velusamy and after his resignation P. Rajkumar, both from the AIADMK.
The last Council (2011-16) saw the AIADMK enjoy a two-thirds majority. Now with Coimbatore poised to get a woman mayor it remains to be seen who the two major political parties or their alliance partners field as mayoral candidate.
The Council to-be will have five women from the Scheduled Caste as Wards 3, 13, 61, 66 and 85 have been reserved for women from the communities that come under the classification. Likewise, Wards 1, 2, 9, 14, 15, 17, 19, 21, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 43, 44, 45, 48, 49, 50, 51, 54, 57, 58, 59, 62, 63, 64, 65, 67, 68, 70, 75, 77, 78, 79, 82, 83 and 84 have been reserved for women.
And, wards 60, 74, 80, 87 and 93 have been reserved for men from the Scheduled Caste communities.
And, interestingly, the ward numbers are new and used to denote wards as proposed in the 2017 delimitation exercise, say Corporation officials. The Corporation had proposed revision of ward numbers and rearranged them sequentially to ensure uniformity.
The sources say the old numbers do not hold good now and in a few cases even the ward boundaries.
In the coming days – the campaign period – as the political parties release their city manifesto and the contestants make ward level promises, it will be interesting to note whose arguments the people buy and it that will be a continuation of the way they voted in the Assembly election, held nine months ago.