The ruling AIADMK held a brainstorming session today ahead of by-elections. (File)
The ruling AIADMK held a brainstorming session today on how best it could take on the main opposition DMK and rival leader TTV Dhinakaran led-AMMK in the by-elections expected for 20 constituencies in Tamil Nadu.
Chaired by party presidium chairman E Madusudanan, the meeting was steered by the AIADMK coordinator – the numero uno party slot- held by Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and party co-coordinator and Chief Minister K Palaniswami.
The meet took stock of the current political situation in the 20 constituencies, AIADMK's previous performances and the dire need to win the 20 seats, vis-a-vis the challenge posed by DMK, especially in segments like Tiruvarur, represented by the late DMK patriarch, M Karunanidhi.
Also, local level issues and challenges, including the one posed by rival Dhinakaran led Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam in certain pockets were considered, the sources said.
Asked about the poll strategy evolved at the meet, party organising secretary and Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar told reporters, "we cannot disclose secrets to you…we cannot reveal the strategy that was discussed."
The Minister, part of the 10-member party poll team for Perambur constituency, said a strategy was however in place to win all 20 constituencies and "there is no necessity to disclose it."
To another question, he said the invite to return to AIADMK was valid for those who had left the party due to differences, but not for Dhinakaran or his extended family, including V K Sasikala (former aide of late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa).
Jayakumar said the party was ready to face the bypolls whenever it was held, be it immediately or along with the 2019 Lok Sabha election.
The candidates for the bypolls would be decided by the high command after the Election Commission announces the schedule, he said.
"The party is united and will trounce rivals," he said.
State Ministers, MLAs and MPs, who also formed part of 20 teams (each comprising four to 10 members and all designated as by-election in charges) constituted to take care of poll preparations, took part in the brainstorming session.
The by-elections – the schedule for which is yet to be announced by the Election Commission – are perceived to be an acid test for the Palaniswami-led government since the outcome will have a bearing on its survival.
The DMK and its allies together have 97 MLAs (DMK 88 Congress 8 and IUML 1) in the assembly as against the ruling AIADMK's 116 (excluding Speaker P Dhanapal) in the 234-member House.
AMMK deputy general secretary TTV Dhinakaran is an independent MLA from RK Nagar constituency.
There are 20 vacancies, including those caused by the disqualification of 18 ruling party MLAs, who have backed Dhinakaran and two others caused by the deaths of two sitting legislators.
Karunanidhi, who represented Tiruvarur and AIADMK's A K Bose (Tiruparankundram) passed away recently.