The opposition AIADMK which has faced back-to-back drubbings since the 2019 general elections in Tamil Nadu is determined to make a comeback in the February 19 urban local body polls, according to party sources.
As part of its poll strategy, the party plans to highlight the failures of the DMK in the nine months of its rule. Its failure to do away with the National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET), a promise made in the 2021 Assembly elections, is being seen as one of the bigget setback.
The AIADMK will also point out that the ruling party did not honour its promise of providing Rs 1,000 per month to women heads of the family. The government has also drawn flak from all corners over the poor quality of items that were supplied in the Pongal gift hampers distributed to rice ration cardholders in the state, the sources said.
The ruling government’s politics of “vindictiveness and vendetta” in conducting raids and registering cases against former ministers on charges of corruption and disproportionate asset cases will be another factor the opposition plans to highlight.
As per the sources, the AIADMK has been accusing the DMK of using the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti Corruption bodies against former ministers of the AIADMK to settle scores.
Senior AIADMK party leaders O. Panneerselvam and Edappadi K. Palaniswami are holding meetings with party district secretaries to finalise the list of candidates contesting the Urban local body elections.
However, the AIADMK has suffered a setback after the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) of the powerful Vanniyar community announced that it would contest the polls on its own. The PMK incidentally had contested the rural local body elections held in October 2021 alone.
There are rumblings in the Tamil Nadu unit of the BJP also against continuing alliance with AIADMK with the legislative party leader of BJP, Nainar Nagendran coming out strongly against the style of functioning of the AIADMK.
A section of the senior leaders of the BJP wants the party to contest the urban local body polls on its own and have charged the AIADMK of lethargy and that the party cadres had not transferred their votes to the BJP candidates during the 2021 Assembly elections.
Even as there are coalition issues in the AIADMK, the party leadership is strong that it would make a mark in the urban local body elections by highlighting the failures of the DMK government. It will also highlight the DMK’s failure to honour the promises it had made during the Assembly polls.
AIADMK Chief Coordinator and former Chief Minister Panneerselvam and former Chief Minister and joint coordinator of the party, Edappadi K.Palaniswami will finalise the strategies to be adopted by the party by Friday evening, it is learnt.