With the Tiruchirappalli (West) bypoll all set to host an AIADMK-DMK face-off, arch rivals Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and DMK chief M Karunanidhi will hit the campaign trail in the second week of next month.
The October 13 bye-election is the first electoral battle coming five rpt five months after the AIADMK-led alliance swept the April 13 assembly elections pushing DMK to the third spot.
The bypoll was necessitated following the death of Minister Mariam Pichai in a road accident days after he joined the Cabinet.
Ms. Jayalalithaa has fielded M. Paranjothi, a former AIADMK MLA from Srirangam, which she represents in the present assembly, and will canvass for him on October 9.
The DMK candidate is former Transport Minister K.N. Nehru, now in jail on land grabbing charges. Mr. Karunanidhi will campaign on October 10.
AIADMK will bank on its three-month old government’s performance, with Ms. Jayalalithaa launching a slew of populist schemes like free laptops for students as promised in her party’s manifesto for the assembly polls.
DMK for its part would seek to reclaim lost glory, with statistics loaded in its favour. The party had returned members to the assembly since 1996 before anti-incumbency proved fatal for Mr. Nehru’s chances while seeking a successive term this year.
Mr. Karunanidhi’s son and party Treasurer, M.K. Stalin, who filed Mr. Nehru’s nomination papers on his behalf, would campaign for four days starting October 8.