(Eds: Adds quotes) Chennai, Dec 20 (PTI) Months ahead of assembly elections in Tamil Nadu, principal opposition DMK on Sunday launched a campaign against arch-rival AIADMK on what it called 'lack of governance' by the Palaniswami government and touching sensitive issues such as the NEET-related suicides.
The party's campaign launched on Sunday is titled 'werejectadmk' and the DMK released a video, flagging issues in sectors like agriculture and education as it urged people to defeat the AIADMK in the elections, likely in coming April-May.
In the video, released during a meeting of DMK's key office-bearers, including district secretaries, party chief M K Stalin said senior party functionaries will visit over 16,000 villages and wards to conduct 'gram sabhas' where resolutions will be adopted against the AIADMK government as part of the campaign.
At the meeting, Stalin set a target of winning 200 seats for his party office-bearers and claimed DMK was facing attacks from many fronts, including 'some being forced' to start their own political ventures as part of a 'conspiracy.' The DMK, out of power since 2011, is making a full throttled bid to storm back and dethrone the AIADMK.
Incidentally, the DMK initiative came a day after Chief Minister K Palaniswami launched his poll campaign from his native Edapadi in Salem district, urging the people to ensure a resounding win for his party and facilitate continuity of its 'good service' to them.
Stalin in his video message claimed: 'Entire Tamil Nadu has been affected due to the lack of governance of the AIADMK government. From towns to rural areas, there is a complete collapse.
'To remove this government that is working against all Tamils, about 1,600 DMK leaders will visit over 16,000 villages and wards with the charge sheet of 'werejectadmk', hold gram sabha meetings and adopt resolutions,' he added.
The gram sabha meetings are scheduled from December 23 to January 10, the party said.
Stalin said an exclusive website has been created for this purpose and invited members of public to 'adopt the resolution online' as well.
The opposition party will highlight issues such as the National-Entrance-cum-Eligibility Test related suicides of S Anitha of Ariyalur, which triggered an outrage against the exam, and some other medical aspirants, allegations of corruption against the AIADMK, issues faced by farmers and unemployed youth and the law and order situation.
DMK leaders, including Udhayanidhi Stalin and Kanimozhi, have already hit the campaign trail while Stalin has been addressing virtual meetings ahead of the state polls, the first after the demise of the party patriarch M Karunanidhi and AIADMK supremo and late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.
Jayalalithaa died on December 5, 2016 and Karunanidhi on August 7, 2018 after helming their respective parties and holding sway over masses for decades.
Jayalalithaa had led the AIADMK to back-to-back victories in the assembly elections in 2011 and 2016, dealing a blow to the DMK.
The DMK-led alliance, however, swept the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in the state.
Later, in his address at the gathering at the party headquarters here, Stalin exhorted the functionaries to work with a zeal to achieve 'mission 200,' implying DMK should return at least 200 MLAs in the 234-member state assembly.
The party was facing attacks from several fronts, he said and urged his supporters to face every one of them successfully.
He alleged that with BJP's 'muscle' and AIADMK's 'money', the media was supportive of the two ruling parties, but added 'such things are not new to us.' 'Such weapons are used against us in every election which we have been facing. Unable to take on us, they are creating new entities. They are forcing some people to launch their own parties and are doing all kinds of conspiracies,' he said without naming anyone.
DMK workers should not be cowed down by these but work harder to ensure the party returned to the ruling saddle, the Leader of Opposition in state assembly said, while also calling for unity among the ranks.
He alleged the AIADMK had not done anything for the state in the last ten years and this should be effectively taken to the people Stalin also said he might launch his poll campaign from the first week of January. PTI SA VS VS