CHENNAI: Seeking to rebut the charge of opposition parties that the ruling party is afraid to face by-elections and to boost its position, the AIADMK on Monday fielded the entire Cabinet, except Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, and 90 senior functionaries as election in-charges for the 20 Assembly constituencies in which bypolls are expected.
The 20 seats include 18 which fell vacant after their MLAs were disqualified and Tirupparankundram and Tiruvarur which fell vacant on the death of AIADMK MLA AK Bose and DMK chief M Karunanidhi respectively.
The announcement came after the CM, Deputy CM O Panneerselvam and top leaders went into a huddle at AIADMK headquarters for over an hour on Monday. They discussed the statement of the disqualified MLAs, who prioritised facing bypolls over challenging the verdict upholding their disqualification. Panneerselvam is in charge of Andipatti and Periyakulam while stronger teams have been formed for seats perceived as ‘tough’.
AMMK founder TTV Dhinakaran has said only the disqualified MLAs will contest in all 18 seats. For Perambur where AMMK heavyweight P Vetrivel will be contesting, a 10-member team led by party presidium chairman E Madhusudhanan and Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar was formed. Similar teams were formed for key constituencies such as Thanjavur, Aravakurichi, Poonamallee, and Tirupparankundram. For Tiruvarur only a three-member team led by Food Minister S Kamaraj was formed.
It may be noted that two petitions regarding Tirupparankundram seat are pending before HC as well as Election Commission. The EC recently delayed notifying bypolls to Tirupparankundram and Tiruvarur after TN said entire state machinery would be needed to handle the North East Monsoon.