Tamil Nadu events see polls on the horizon, prepared warfare rooms

Nobody knows when the assembly election will be held, while the Lok Sabha polls are at least a year away. But, political in Tamil Nadu seem to have already got into poll mode.

The DMK, the and the BJP are focusing their attention on strengthening booth committees – the heart and soul of a party’s election machinery that help it reach out to voters at their doorsteps in both cities and remote villages.

For a party like the DMK, which prides itself on being cadre-based, getting into election mode may not be difficult. DMK working president M K has started a series of review meetings with district-level office bearers from February, 2018 itself; on Tuesday he met partymen from Trichy region. Of the 65 party districts across the state, Stalin has already reviewed the affairs in most districts, with around 13 remaining.
The DMK in February also asked the local leaders to enroll 20 members in every booth committee in the state, which has roughly about 63,000 polling booths. The party also sent out forms for filling the 20 names, which were required to be sent back to the party headquarters. “With roughly 63,000 polling booths in the state, the task to collect and store those many forms, in hard copy, will be herculean. Hence, I have suggested that the leader (Stalin) collect the details as a soft copy, as this will be the method in the future. We are awaiting his decision,” said DMK MLA and party’s IT Wing head, P T R Palanivel Thiagarajan.

As if not wanting to be left behind, DMK’s ally, the Congress has started its own booth committee initiatives through a series of district level meetings to reach out to booth committee members.

TNCC president S Thirunavukkarasar participated in the first such meeting last Sunday for Chennai East district. “We have 72 party districts in Tamil Nadu and we need to connect with about 65,000 booth committees. Over the next two months, I intend to travel across the state and participate in such district level meetings to get the booth committees in active mode,” Thirunavukkarasar said.

The other national party, BJP seems to have already completed its task on this front. BJP’s state president Tamilisai Soundarajan tweeted on April 10, about being appreciated by party’s national president Amit Shah for undertaking a state-wide tour for 45 days and connecting with booth committee heads of 40,000 units across the state.

Interestingly, the ruling AIADMK has not focused its attention on party strengthening yet. With the state government on survival mode and the top two leaders and O Panneerselvam pre-occupied with placating disgruntled leaders in the party, things are still in a flux.

Over the past month, the two have appointed key party leaders with organisational posts and other responsibilities, besides having started the process of appointing local level leaders to various posts that fell vacant after expelling supporters of rebel leader, T T V Dhinakaran. ” are still some time away. By offering organisational posts to key leaders, the party has ensured that at least 50-60 assembly segments will be safe for the party right away,” an AIADMK leader, said on condition of anonymity.

There is hardly any action in the rebel camp, which is now Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) that claims it has the support of 80% of AIADMK party cadres. “We want to undertake membership drive and even got the forms ready to launch it after a public meeting in Trichy. After the passing away of uncle (V K Sasikala’s husband, M Natarajan), our second line leaders wanted to postpone it to a later date,” TTV had told TOI recently. The subsequent Supreme Court order, staying the use of AMMK party flag for a couple of weeks, until the AIADMK party name and symbol case already pending before the Delhi High Court is resolved, seem to have placed AMMK on a near silent mode.

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