In an apparent attempt to leave no stone unturned to retain power in the coming Tamil Nadu Assembly Elections, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami today announced in the state assembly that the retirement age for government employees has been increased to 60 from 59. The move will benefit lakhs of state government employees. The chief minister also announced a bonanza for students of class 9th, 10th and 11th. Students of standard 9th, 10th and 11th will be promoted to the next class without taking exams, in wake of COVID-19 pandemic, said CM Edappadi K Palaniswami in the state legislative assembly. The decision came a day after the birth anniversary of late J Jayalalithaa. The elections for 234-assembly will be held around May this year. Palaniswami has been announcing various measures to lure the voters and retain power. AIADMK is facing a stiff challenge from MK Stalin-led DMK which is set to wrest power in the state if pre-election exit polls are to be believed. Palaniswami had earlier announced to withdraw cases registered against government employees including teachers who had gone on strike in 2019 demanding the 7th pay commission salary arrears, withdrawal of the New Pension Scheme and addressing wage anomalies. Addressing a rally in Tenkasi on February 19, the CM had ordered the closure of cases registered against anti-CAA protesters. He had informed that approximately 1,500 cases were filed during the anti-CAA protests. Cases other than those related to cases of violence and specific offences and those related to preventing the police from their work are being dropped in the public interest, the CM had said. The duo at the helm of AIADMK – Edappadi K Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam- are also involved in a legal battle with expelled leader V K Sasikala who is out in the political field after serving a jail term in a graft case. Sasikala had challenged the AIADMK councils decision to expel her from the party as illegal.