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CHENNAI: Anticipating assembly election in April 2021, chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and his deputy, O Panneerselvam will hit the campaign trail in January, around Pongal. “EPS and OPS have made arrangements to source campaign vehicles with additional features from Salem, Namakkal and Coimbatore,” a senior leader said.

Party sources said the leadership hinted at continuing the existing alliance and bringing on board a few fringe outfits in the western belt. “The leaders said they anticipate the election commission to issue notification in March and schedule the assembly election in the third week of April. They said the campaign should begin in January to cover all the areas, just like DMK chief M K Stalin has planned,” said a leader.

The AIADMK’s annual general council and executive committee meeting would be held by December-end when the high-level panels are expected to authorise the leadership to take a call on alliance-related issues. The last executive committee meeting on held in September saw dissent between the EPS, OPS camps before the CM candidature of Palaniswami and setting up steering panels were announced.

In a one-on-one meeting with the district secretaries and zonal in charge for more than three hours on Monday, the leaders took stock of the organisation and its strength in the assembly constituencies with a few functionaries discussing prospective candidates.

A slew of directions was issued in order to put in place the grassroots structures, booth level committees, women committees, Ilaignar Ilampengal Pasarai (young men and women’s wing) in every booth and IT wing teams in each panchayat in rural areas and wards in urban areas by December-end. This would enable systematic micro-management, leaders said.

Even as the churn in state politics is imminent against the backdrop of actor Rajinikanth’s political debut, deputy coordinator K P Munusamy said voters would endorse the AIADMK for its good governance and welfare schemes. “Certainly, people will vote for us as we stand with them. We have not only kept the party together after the demise of our leader (J Jayalalithaa), our government has kept people happy for the last four years. It succeeded in effectively handling Covid for which the chief minister toured the districts,” the AIADMK leader said. With the opposition DMK and allies taking on the ruling camp on alleged corruption, the AIADMK leadership told partymen to counter it by talking about the 2G scam against its arch-rival.

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