Chief Minister and AIADMK co-coordinator Edappadi K. Palaniswami is believed to have told his party colleagues that neither did the BJP’s central leadership “interfere” with the functioning of the State government nor did the AIADMK “have to feel obliged” to anyone.
Sources said he was responding to the remarks of deputy coordinator K.P. Munusamy on the need for effectively tackling the perception battle about the ties between the AIADMK and the BJP at a meeting of senior functionaries held at the party headquarters on Friday. Mr. Munusamy recounted how he had declared that only those who accepted the AIADMK’s decision to name Mr. Palaniswami as the candidate for Chief Minister could remain with the ruling party as allies.
Recalling that the Centre was “helpful in facilitating a smooth transfer of power” after the death of Jayalalithaa, the Chief Minister told party leaders that there were “friendly ties” between the Centre and the State government. He also wanted the party leaders to highlight the government’s achievements, like the 7.5% horizontal reservation for the NEET-qualified government school students in admission to undergraduate medical courses, at public fora.
O. Panneerselvam, Deputy Chief Minister and AIADMK coordinator, wanted the zonal pointpersons and district secretaries to ensure enrolment of all eligible voters in the electoral rolls and stick to the practice as followed when Jayalalithaa was at the helm. The leaders called upon the functionaries to see to it that the services of 20-25 women were enlisted at the level of every polling booth for intensifying party work. This would be in addition to the work of the wings for young men and women. They also explained the functions of the zonal pointpersons and district secretaries.
Among those who attended the meeting were E. Madhusudanan, chairman of the presidium, and R. Vaithilingam, deputy coordinator.
‘BJP aspires for power’
BJP Mahila Morcha president Vanathi Srinivasan said on Friday that her party aspires to come to power in Tamil Nadu, while also asserting that its alliance with the AIADMK continues to be strong.
“Every party will aspire to come to power one day. BJP has that aspiration too,” she told mediapersons at Coimbatore airport.
She also stressed that there are no changes in the AIADMK-BJP alliance and that it remains strong. The BJP’s national leadership will announce the seat-sharing details for the Assembly election, she said.