In a massive boost to the saffron party ahead of the Tamil Nadu 2021 polls, AIADMK coordinator O Panneerselvam, on Saturday, announced that the AIADMK will continue its alliance with BJP. Announcing the continued alliance at the inauguration of Chennai’s fifth reservoir, Panneerselvam stated this in the presence of Tamil Nadu CM E Palaniswami and Home Minister Amit Shah at Chennai's Kalaivanar Arangam. The ex-BJP chief is on a two-day tour in Tamil Nadu - to inaugurate key projects and to hold talks with state BJP members in Chennai.
நாடாளுமன்ற தேர்தல் கூட்டணி தொடரும் - மாண்புமிகு முதல்வர் திரு. எடப்பாடி கே. பழனிசாமி அவர்கள் திட்டவட்டம்.— AIADMK (@AIADMKOfficial) November 21, 2020
Earlier in the day, boosting the saffron party's poll meagre presence in Tamil Nadu, expelled DMK leader MK Alagiri loyalist and ex-MP KP Ramalingam joined BJP in the presence of state president L Murugan. The newly inducted leader is expected to meet BJP leader and Union Home Minister Amit Shah later in the day. Speaking to Republic he said, " I will convince him (Alagiri) to come to BJP because I have come. I will speak to him, but he has to take a decision." Alagiri, on the other hand, has categorically denied floating a new party or in talks with BJP.
The BJP is yet to formally begin its poll campaign, though it has created a stir with its 'Vetrivel Yathirai' which was launched on November 6. The Vetrivel or Vel yatra campaign by the saffron party to "expose" the Karuppar Kootam that "denigrated" Kanda Sasti Kavacham in praise of Lord Muruga and the DMK "which lent support" to the group. While the AIADMK initially cited COVID-19 violations, it later opposed the 'yathirai' stating it would disrupt communal harmony. State president L Murugan, however, been holding public 'vel yatra' meetings and courting arrest in multiple locations when police authorities deny them permission. While AIADMK too held a party meeting to discuss its poll campaign, DMK has already kicked off its poll campaign with Udhayanidhi - DMK chief M.K Stalin's son's 75-day tour across Tamil Nadu.
The two warring factions in AIADMK - of Deputy CM O Pannerselvam (OPS) and CM E Palaniswamy (EPS), reconciled after the party named incumbent E Palaniswamy as its CM candidate and O Panneerselvam as the chief of the 11-member steering committee. With AIADMK announcing a coalition with BJP, the saffron party is reportedly in talks with MK Stalin's estranged brother - Alagiri and superstar Rajinikanth - who has often praised PM Modi. Meanwhile, ex-CM Karunanidhi's successor - DMK chief MK Stalin eyes his maiden CM term as DMK cannot afford to lose a third straight Assembly election after sweeping the state in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls with 38 seats. Polls will be held in April-May 2021.