AIADMK’s focus seems to be pitting old hands of the party against their former colleagues in the 18 constituencies, who have now pledged their support to AMMK chief TTV Dhinakaran.

AIADMK readies for poll battle Ministers take charge of 20 bye-poll constituenciesPTI
news Politics Tuesday, October 30, 2018 - 10:50

Following the disqualification of 18 MLAs of the Tamil Nadu state legislative assembly and the death of legislators, former Chief Minister M Karunanidhi and AIADMK’s AK Bose, 20 constituencies in the state are without representatives. While the Election Commission (EC) is yet to make an official announcement, the ruling AIADMK has already begun poll preparations, announcing election in-charges for the 20 constituencies.

The list was released to the media following an emergency meeting of the party at its Royapettah headquarters in Chennai on Monday. The meeting was chaired by Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam.

According to a report in the Times of India, the list follows a pattern of strengths and caste equations among the cabinet ministers, who have been put in charge at the various constituencies.

According to the newspaper, OPS has been put in charge of Andipatati and Periakulam, while K P Anbazhagan has been assigned Harur and Pappireddipatti in the northern belt, which is dominated by the vanniyar caste. Deputy Lok Sabha Speaker M Thambidurai and Minister MR Vijayabaskar have been tasked with the Aravakurichi constituency.

The party’s focus seems to be pitting old hands of the party against their former colleagues in the 18 constituencies, who have now pledged their support to AMMK chief and RK Nagar MLA TTV Dhinakaran.

In fact, in an effort to reach out to these disqualified legislators, Nammadhu Amma, the AIADMK’s mouthpiece, published a write-up on Monday, asking the group of 18 to ‘kneel’ before late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, apologise and return to the party.

“Deeply repent (your actions). Kneel before Amma (at her memorial at Marina) and seek a tearful apology. Issue an apology letter to the party and return on time,” the article reportedly said.

While the TTV camp is yet to finalise on whether they would appeal the Madras High Court decision at the Supreme Court or choose to face 20 bye-polls, the outreach from the EPS-OPS camp is likely to continue in the run-up to elections.

Meanwhile, the AIADMK party whip, S Rajendran, filed a caveat in the Supreme Court on Tuesday, anticipating an appeal on the Madras HC order by the disqualified MLAs.

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