The ruling AIADMK on Monday said its top decision making bodies, the general council and executive committee, would meet on January 9, gearing up to face the Assembly elections due early next year. While Chief Minister K Palaniswami hit the campaign trail on Saturday from his home district of Salem, Tamil Nadu's governing party said its inaugural election rally, which it billed as a 'mega' event, would be held here on December 27.
Though Assembly elections are due in April-May 2021 in Tamil Nadu, the principal opposition DMK, which has been out of power for nearly 10 years and actor-politician Kamal Haasan's fledgling Makkal Needhi Maiam, facing the Assembly polls for the first time, are in active campaign mode. Latching on to late party chief J Jayalalithaa's mantra of 'peace, prosperity and growth' AIADMK said the event would mark the inauguration of election work to seek the people's mandate to continue good governance and steer Tamil Nadu on the path of success.
The public meeting here would see the participation of AIADMK's big two leaders, Chief Minister K Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, the party said in a release, adding the meeting of the top party bodies would be held on January 9. On the meeting of the top panels, AIADMK sources said it would brainstorm all aspects relevant for an election year, be it organisational preparedness, campaign strategies, the regions that needed more attention and so on.
Firming up alliance with friendly parties and propaganda for creating better awareness about a slew of welfare measures of the government among the people were also likely to be on the agenda for discussion, sources added. The meeting, to be chaired by presidium chairman E Madhusudhanan, would be held at AIADMK's favourite premises for its big ticket meetings, the Sri Vaaru Venkatachalapathy Palace at suburban Vanagaram here, the party said.
Palaniswami on December 19 highlighted his government's achievements in a roadshow and expressed confidence that the AIADMK would retain power for the second time in a row. He announced a cash gift of Rs 2,500 for about two crore rice ration card holders in addition to a festival hamper, comprising rice and sugar (a kilo each), a sugarcane piece, 20 grams each of cashew nuts and dry grapes, besides five grams cardamom.
Also, he had said free sarees and dhoties to beneficiaries worth Rs 1.80 crore would be distributed. Gift hampers with ingredients to make 'Pongal' (Sweet rice) and cash have been given away to beneficiaries previously as well by the AIADMK government, which wrested power from arch rival DMK in 2011 and won again in 2016.
MNM, launched in 2018, garnered 3.77 per cent votes in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Kamal Haasan's party has said it seeks to offer an alternative to the Dravidian majors in the 2021 state polls, This will be the first assembly elections after the demise of DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi and AIADMK's supremo Jayalalithaa.