‘Two Leaves’ unsure, but two candidates ready for Erode East Assembly by-election
EPS, OPS declare ‘AIADMK’ candidates for Erode East poll; BJP to take stand after Annamalai meets nat’l leaders
Published: 02nd February 2023 07:09 AM | Last Updated: 02nd February 2023 07:09 AM | A+A A-
CHENNAI/ERODE/TRICHY: Both AIADMK factions led by Edappadi K Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam on Wednesday fielded their candidates for the by-election to the Erode East Assembly constituency while the decision of the Election Commission of India to be conveyed to the Supreme Court on Friday will shed light on whether the ‘Two Leaves’ symbol will be available for this election.
Further, the State BJP is yet to announce which faction of the AIADMK it will throw its weight behind. However, BJP State president K Annamalai on Wednesday in Tiruchy dubbed KS Thennarasu, the candidate of the Palaniswami faction, a strong candidate and familiar to constituency voters.
Responding to another question, he said, “A strong candidate is needed to fight against the money, muscle and political power in this election.” Annamalai also said by-elections would not help evaluate the strength of a political party indicating that the BJP was not inclined to contest the Erode East poll.
The BJP is likely to announce its clear-cut stand after Annamalai consults his national leadership. Sources said he is leaving for Rajasthan on Wednesday night or on Thursday, and whether he would meet his party leaders in New Delhi is yet to be decided.
Meanwhile, AIADMK interim general secretary Palaniswami announced KS Thennarasu as his party’s candidate for the bypoll, and hours later, Panneerselvam in Chennai announced B Senthil Murugan as the AIADMK’s candidate.
At Erode, during the introduction of the candidate, Thennarasu expressed confidence that he would win the election by a large margin. After the candidate announcement, Thennarasu went to Salem and met Palaniswami.
Panneerselvam said he was ready to withdraw his candidate if the BJP decides to field its candidate. He also said if the BJP decides not to contest, his candidate would definitely continue in the fray. Responding to a question, Panneerselvam said he would definitely meet and seek the support of VK Sasikala for his candidate.
Asked if there are any chances of the ‘Two Leaves’ symbol getting frozen since Palaniswami has also fielded his candidate, Panneerselvam said he continues to be the coordinator of the AIADMK as per the records of the ECI, and it depends upon the decision to be taken by the commission. However, he also clarified that if Palaniswami seeks his signature on the A and B forms seeking the ‘Two Leaves’ symbol, he would definitely sign them.
Earlier in the day, BJP state president Annamalai evaded a question from reporters as to whether Palaniswami had discussed with him before announcing Thennarasu as a candidate. “It won’t be nice to talk about it in the open,” he said.
EPS faction candidate: Thennarasu, AIADMK’s secretary to Erode East constituency since 2011 hails from Karungalpalayam and was elected twice as MLA from the constituency in 2001 and 2016. He has also held various positions in the party. Thennarasu runs a printing press in Erode and serves as the general secretary of Erode district loadmen association. He has been the vice president of the Periyar District Industrial and Commerce Association and president of the Erode Screen Printing Association for over two decades
OPS faction candidate: Panneerselvam said Senthil Murugan is a long-time, staunch member of the party, and it seems Murugan has not held a party post so far