Top AIADMK leaders to discuss poll strategy before Amit Shah’s Saturday visit

The senior leadership of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) is likely to discuss on Friday poll prospects and booth level management for the Tamil Nadu assembly elections scheduled for early 2021, party functionaries said on Wednesday.

The party meeting has been scheduled ahead of Union home minister Amit Shah’s visit on Saturday to take stock of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s poll preparedness in the state.

“We will discuss field work like organising booth committees and vote canvassing. We won’t be discussing alliances,” said AIADMK spokesperson and former minister, Vaigaichelvan. Vaigaichelvan had, a few days back, dismissed senior BJP leader Pon Radhakrishnan’s suggestion of an alliance government in the state.

The AIADMK’s Friday meeting will be attended by chief minister Edappadi Palaniswami (EPS), his deputy O Panneerselvam (OPS) and several ministers, party functionaries said.

While political analysts are expecting the two allies to devise a plan for the upcoming elections during Shah’s visit to the state, a section of AIADMK leaders said that a continued alliance with the BJP — which the TN electorate has rejected so far— could affect their prospects in the state elections.

“Within the party, the understanding is to continue our present alliances but only by January or February we will take a call on final alliance partners,” said an AIADMK leader on condition of anonymity, while admitting that there is a concern within the party over continuing alliance with the BJP.

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Political commentator T N Gopalan said that both the parties are “posturing” on the issue of alliance. “Obviously they will discuss alliances and they will continue to be together as it suits them,” he said.

“The AIADMK would want to continue a working relationship given BJP’s power at the Centre and BJP too hasn’t found an alternative partner in the state, particularly after actor Rajinikanth expressed his doubts of being politically active due to Covid-19,” said Ramu Manivannan, head, political science department, University of Madras.

The meeting and Shah’s visit come close on the heels of the BJP launching a month-long Vetrivel yatra (victorious spear march) of popular Tamil deity, Lord Muruga, to “expose an anti-Hindu propaganda”. On Monday, a column published in AIADMK mouthpiece, Nammadu Amma, said that the government will not allow any yatra that seeks to divide people on religion and case.

Reacting to the article, a BJP leader speaking on condition of anonymity said, “When we meet EPS, we will speak to him about the article. It was unnecessary.”

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