Panneerselvam leads AIADMK list of by-elections in-charge

File photo of OPS and EPS.

Chennai: The AIADMK Monday announced a list of leaders, led by Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, as ‘by-election in-charge’ for 20 Assembly constituencies, including those which have fallen vacant following the disqualification of 18 party MLAs loyal to rival leader T T V Dhinakaran.

The 20 constituencies include Tiruvarur and Thiruparankundram, where by-polls are due following the recent death of sitting MLAs – DMK chief M Karunanidhi and A K Bose of the AIADMK.

By-polls have not been announced for any of the segments so far.

Panneerselvam, the AIADMK coordinator, will be in-charge for Andipatti and Periakulam (SC) – both in Theni district – according to a statement issued by him and Chief Minister K Palaniswami, who is the joint coordinator.

AIADMK’s move comes days after the Madras High Court upheld the disqualification of 18 party MLAs by Speaker P Dhanapal last year, after they expressed no confidence in Palaniswami, and vacated a stay on conduct of by-elections to the constituencies.

The High Court verdict had thrown open the doors for holding by-polls to the 18 constituencies, with the AIADMK and its arch-rival DMK expressing confidence in winning the elections.

The Dhinakaran camp has also exuded confidence that it will retain all the 18 seats, this time from his Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK).

On 25 October, Justice M Sathyanarayana had heard the pleas of the rival parties after a bench of then Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M Sundar gave a split verdict 14 June.

On Monday, the AIADMK named senior ministers, including C Srinivasan (Forest), P Thangamani (Electricity) and C Vijayabaskar (Health), besides party’s propaganda secretary and Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai as election in-charge for all 20 seats facing by-poll.

Party MPs and MLAs are also part of the election teams for the respective Assembly segments.

AIADMK Rajya Sabha MP R Vaithilingam said the party will start preparatory work for the by-poll in a day or two. The senior leader said discussion on selection of candidates for the by-polls could be discussed only after the announcement of poll schedule by the Election Commission.

Speaking to reporters in Chennai, he said the AIADMK leadership has extended an invitation only to those “gone astray” to return to the party, apparently referring to the disqualified MLAs and not Dhinakaran.