Bengaluru: Amidst rising cases of coronavirus, poll bugle has already been sounded in Tamil Nadu. Chief Minister Edappadi Palanisamy-led AIADMK has roped in low profile, ace election strategist Sunil Kanugolu to mount a powerful campaign ahead of the Assembly polls due early next year. Interestingly, reclusive Sunil was the chief strategist for MK Stalin-led DMK alliance in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
According to highly placed sources, Sunil has already started assisting the chief minister in coming out with a detailed plan to woo and retain voters ahead of the most crucial elections.
When EPS became chief minister in a coup two months after the AIADMK supremo and chief minister J Jayalalithaa’s death, no one gave him even an outside chance. His tattering government was mocked and ridiculed by one and all. Most had written the obituary of the EPS government, the day he was sworn in as the CM in February 2017.
Three years later, proving all the naysayers completely wrong, EPS is firmly in the saddle and has established full control over both the party and government. Even a total rout in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections has not impacted his government. The AIADMK managed to win just one seat, out of total 39 seats in Tamil Nadu.
Sunil Kanugolu, is a native of Bellary in Karnataka. He hails from a well-known family. Born and brought up in Chennai, Sunil did his higher studies from the USA and was with a global management consulting firm McKinsey.
After returning to India, Sunil was involved in political strategies in Gujarat and led the Association of Billion Minds (ABM). He was also one of the key strategists for Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Sunil has handled the highly successful BJP campaign in the UP Assembly polls in early 2017.
He was associated with MK Stalin and oversaw its brilliant “Namakku Naame” (We are for Ourselves) campaign during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The DMK-led alliance won 38 of the total 39 Parliament seats in that election. After his onetime colleague Prashant Kishor of IPAC, joined the DMK camp to strategise the campaign, Sunil left Stalin camp and moved to Bengaluru.
Speaking to New18 a few months ago, Sunil had expressed his desire to take a break from the routine election strategies for some time. But, EPS persuaded him to advise him on government policies and election campaign.
Sunil has already started working for EPS and closely monitoring the government policies and other political developments in the state. The popular perception is EPS is on a weak wicket and the DMK is on an upswing.
In this context, Sunil joining the EPS team has led to a lot of excitement and speculations in the political circles of TN. One has to wait and watch how a quiet, no nonsense, sharp political brain Sunil will change the political fortunes of EPS in this “do or die” battle.