The ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s general council on Saturday unanimously endorsed Edappadi K Palaniswami as the chief ministerial candidate for the upcoming Tamil Nadu Assembly elections, PTI reported.

The top decision making body also empowered party coordinator and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, and joint coordinator and Chief Minister Palaniswami to finalise election alliances, seat-sharing strategy and candidate selection process. “This general council authorises O Panneerselvam and Edappadi K Palaniswami to devise winning strategies to ensure a grand win in the 2021 polls, create an AIADMK-led victory alliance and decide seat-sharing with alliance parties,” the members said at a meeting in a marriage hall in Chennai.

The general council, however, was silent on the continuance of the AIADMK’s alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party. The alliance was announced in the presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah in December. The AIADMK had earlier led the National Democratic Alliance, its constituents being the BJP, Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam and Pattali Makkal Katchi among others, in the state for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Last month, AIADMK Deputy Coordinator KP Munusamy had rejected any possibility of a power-sharing agreement with BJP. On Saturday, he said, “National parties don’t matter in Tamil Nadu.”

During Saturday’s meeting, 16 resolutions were adopted by the AIADMK. They approved the constitution of an 11-member steering committee to help in the run up to the elections.

Another resolution criticised Leader of Opposition and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief MK Stalin for targeting the chief minister. The party alleged that he was unable to bear the growing public support for ruling government, as well as Palaniswami’s administrative acumen and was therefore indulging in “uncultured” criticism. It also said, in another resolution, that it would strive hard to “put an end to the dynasty politics of one family” and ensure that a “true democratic government” under AIADMK was elected to power.

Ahead of the release of former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s close aide VK Sasikala from Bengaluru jail, Munuswamy said in a tacit reference that her release will not affect the AIADMK, according to NDTV. “She will have a thousand problems,” he added.

In his address at the meeting, Palaniswami said the party was above individuals and called for a united fight to secure a “grand, unprecedented victory” in the elections. “Ours is the only democratic organisation where workers can become even chief minister and deputy chief minister, which is not the case with others...setting aside differences, work with the sole aim of party’s victory,” he added.

The chief minister referred to Panneerselvam as his “elder brother”, while thanking him for announcing him as the chief ministerial candidate.