File photo: Tamil Nadu Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam.
Chennai: The teams set up by the ruling AIADMK to prepare for byelections to 20 Tamil Nadu assembly constituencies have begun their work, party coordinator and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam Monday said.
He also rejected reports that Chief Minister K Palaniswami had asked the party workers to focus on winning eight of the 20 seats, which have fallen vacant due to disqualification of 18 sitting MLAs and demise of two others.
The Chief Minister had not spoken of winning "4 or 8 seats which is your guesswork," he told reporters here.
The party has recently set up teams for overseeing the preparations for the byelections, expected to be notified anytime with the Madras High Court recently vacating its stay on notifying the 18 vacancies while upholding disqualification of as many MLAs loyal to ousted leader TTV Dhinakaran.
Reports had said the AIADMK was keen on winning eight seats to ensure the stability of its government after the bypolls. Panneerselvam said Palaniswami at a meeting held on November 3 at AIADMK headquarters had spoken of winning all the 20 seats and had urged the office-bearers to work towards it.
"The preparatory poll work is being done by the byelection teams, and in-charges and for sure the AIADMK's victory symbol Two-Leaves will emerge triumphant," he told reporters.
Screening electoral rolls, and interacting with local community leaders and opinion makers are among the tasks that form part of the preparatory poll work by the parties.
On the claim by Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar that DMK chief M K Stalin and Dhinakaran, founder of the Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam, had been meeting secretly, Panneerselvam said there had been 'information', indicating it.
"We are continuously getting information that Stalin and Dhinakaran have secretly met and held discussions several times," the deputy chief minister said.
On the lukewarm response to invitation to those who had left the party to return, he said it was AIADMK's 'generosity' to welcome them back and it was for them to accept it or not.
Days after the high court on October 25 upheld the disqualification of 18 AIADMK rebel MLAs, the ruling party had said they and other who backed Dhinakaran were welcome to return to the parent party.
On forging alliance for Lok Sabha poll, Panneerselvam said it will be considered at the time of election with like-minded parties.