2021 TN polls: AIADMK convenes meeting to draw strategy

AIADMK convenes meeting to draw strategy, discuss alliance for 2021 Tamil Nadu polls

BJP may not want to wait till the last minute to firm up alliances as the saffron party has made TN polls a prestige issue, a senior leader said

Tamil Nadu Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami. Credit: PTI File Photo

Tamil Nadu's ruling AIADMK has convened a meeting of its zonal in-charges, ministers and district secretaries on November 20 to fine-tune the party's strategy for the Assembly elections due in the first half of 2021.

The meeting might also adopt a resolution authorising coordinator O Panneerselvam and joint coordinator Edappadi K Palaniswami to decide on the alliance for the crucial elections.

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The meeting assumes significance as it comes on the eve of Union Home Minister and BJP's master-strategist Amit Shah's visit to Chennai to participate in government events and meet party leaders. Though no agenda has been made public, insiders told DH that the meeting is likely to discuss the alliance question and the impact of the release of former interim general secretary V K Sasikala from a Bengaluru jail possibly by January-end.

A senior leader told DH that the meeting may turn to be more significant than expected. “What I infer is that the Friday's meeting may pass a resolution authorising Panneerselvam and Palaniswami to decide on the alliance question. And one should not miss the timing of the meeting. It comes a day before Amit Shah lands in Chennai,” the leader said on the condition of anonymity.

He also added that the BJP may not want to wait till the last minute to firm up alliances this time around as the saffron party has made Tamil Nadu polls a prestige issue. “Though there may be rumblings within the party on aligning with BJP, the leaders have little choice. The BJP wants the alliance to continue and in all probability, the AIADMK-BJP alliance will continue. Amit Shah's visit will make things more clear,” another senior leader said.



Shah, who will reach Chennai on Saturday afternoon and leave Sunday morning, is likely to meet Palaniswami and Panneerselvam during which they are likely to discuss the 2021 Assembly polls. The state unit of BJP has also planned to get leaders of alliance partners to meet Shah during his Chennai visit.

AIADMK entered into a formal electoral alliance with the BJP in 2019 after a gap of 15 years and both parties are likely to continue with their tie-up for the 2021 Assembly elections. At the meeting on Friday, Panneerselvam and Palaniswami, who patched up recently after a tug of war on the chief ministerial nominee, will also introduce the newly-appointed zonal coordinators to district secretaries and seeking their cooperation.

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For the AIADMK, which has had a roller-coaster ride ever since its leader J Jayalalithaa died in 2016, the Assembly elections in 2021 is the most crucial in recent years. Facing 10 years of anti-incumbency, the party is making every effort to put up a tough fight against a resurgent DMK, whose alliance swept the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, and has divided the states, for its convenience, into zones for better coordination.

Insiders said Friday's meeting will also serve as an opportunity for zonal coordinators and district secretaries to introduce each other. “In some places, there have been noises regarding the new appointments. The party top brass will send out a clear message against factionalism within the AIADMK and ask everyone to work for the party's victory,” another senior leader said.

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