Chief executive hopeful and Civic Party legislator Alan Leong Kah-kit has been playing a solo role on the political stage while incumbent Donald Tsang Yam-kuen has been inactive. But there are signs Mr Tsang has begun his campaign for the March 25 election in earnest. On Friday, he and a group of top government officials attended the 10th anniversary dinner hosted by the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong. And this week, the government plans a fresh round of consultations on heritage conservation. It comes after a bitter row over the demolition of the Star Ferry clock tower, with a battle over the fate of the adjacent Queen's Pier looming. On Thursday, it will be showtime for him during a question-time session in the Legislative Council. And a week later, Mr Tsang is expected to announce a series of plans, formulated by members at an economic summit he convened, that provide opportunities for Hong Kong under China's 11th five-year plan. On January 21, Mr Tsang will embark on a three-day visit to Jiangxi province , marking the last stop of his tour of the economically important Pan-Pearl River Delta region that he promised to make soon after he took office. After completing these events in his capacity of chief executive, Mr Tsang is expected to put the final touches to his re-election game plan. It would be expedient to announce his candidacy by the end of this month or early next month. The dates of the nomination period for chief executive have not yet been announced, but it is expected to be in mid-February. Despite speculation after the Election Committee polls last month that Mr Tsang might consider an early entry into the race because of the growing momentum of Mr Leong's campaign, it now looks likely that he will stick to his work schedule. It has proved to be a wise tactic so far. The political impact of Mr Leong's campaign has been and will be significantly lessened as long as Mr Tsang continues to stay out of the election debate. Rather than having to deal with criticism by Mr Leong over his views, Mr Tsang will choose the right time to point to his record during his 18-month tenure and in doing so improve the political climate for himself ahead of the election. However, the process of minimising any negative impact over weak points and maximising his strengths actually started earlier. On the eve of the Election Committee election, the government attempted to score points by withdrawing its proposal for a goods and services tax during the consultation, which is set to end in March. The government's classic play of consultative politics to pacify public discontent over its policy - or the lack of it - on heritage conservation was clearly aimed at cooling off the emotive issue. The swift, high-profile response from top officials over a court ruling on a pay dispute at Sing Pao and the latest breakdown of the Ngong Ping 360 cable car last week appear typical of the working style of the Tsang administration. People might be forgiven if they are a touch cynical by interpreting the government's response as an attempt by Mr Tsang to put a sparkle into his performance before it is tarnished by a hostile political environment. While trying to negotiate a political minefield, Mr Tsang will attempt to put a gloss on the government's economic measures to develop the city's long-term competitiveness. By moving to address the political and economic issues proactively, Mr Tsang stands a good chance of increasing his popularity by the time he faces Mr Leong's challenge. The date of Mr Tsang's announcement of his candidacy is still anybody's guess. There is some truth in the saying in political circles that 'every day is election day' on Mr Tsang's calendar.