AIADMK to contest in Erode East by-poll  

Normally, if the AIADMK contests any by-election, the announcement comes from the AIADMK headquarters.  This time, strangely, the announcement came from an ally.

Published: 20th January 2023 11:14 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th January 2023 01:07 PM   |  A+A-

Edappadi K Palaniswami , EPS

AIADMK interim general secretary Edappadi K Palaniswami at a campaign event in Chennai. (File Photo | P Jawahar, EPS)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The AIADMK will contest in the Erode East bypoll that became vacant due to sudden demise of the MLA.

TMC president GK Vasan confirmed this through his statement today. TMC, an ally of AIADMK, had fielded its candidate in the last assembly polls. While usually the same party in the alliance will be fighting the bypolls, it has come as a surprise that AIADMK has decided to field its candidate. 

The move by AIADMK camp led by Edappadi K Palaniswami, will be seen as a strong message to his rival O Panneerselvam and others on who is the strongest opposition voice in the state.  

"The TMC accepts the request of the AIADMK that the latter wishes to contest this by-election considering the prevailing political situation and keeping in mind the forthcoming elections to Lok Sabha and Assembly elections.  This decision has been taken considering the interest of the people of Tamil Nadu and the interest of the alliance parties," Vasan said in a statement here.

Vasan recalled that M Yuvaraja contested in Erode East Assembly constituency in the 2021 Assembly elections as part of the AIADMK-led alliance.  Despite the false promises made by the DMK and its allies, due to the hard work of the TMC and alliance parties, Yuvaraja secured 58,396 votes.  Now, due to an unexpected situation, the by-election to Erode East constituency has been notified.

"Following this, former Ministers of the AIADMK called on me at the TMC headquarters here and conveyed their party's wish to contest this by-election.  After consulting the senior leaders of the party and office bearers and considering the overall interest of the alliance, the TMC has accepted the wish of the AIADMK.  Now, the TMC office bearers and cadre in Erode East constituency would work for the victory of the AIADMK candidate," Vasan said in a statement here.

Normally, if the AIADMK contests any by-election, the announcement comes from the AIADMK headquarters.  This time, strangely, the announcement came from an ally.  On Thursday night, BJP State president K Annamalai said that Palaniswami and Vasan had spoken to him and the national leadership of the BJP would take a decision soon.  However, even before the BJP decided on this, the announcement came from an ally of the AIADMK.

There were expectations that the difficulties in getting the Two Leaves symbol may force the AIADMK to allow the TMC to contest, or the BJP might contest from this constituency.  Panneerselvam is the coordination of the party and its not clear yet whether the Election Commission will allot the party's Two Leaves symbol without his signature. 

Contrary to the general expectations, the decision of Edappadi K Palaniswami to field an AIADMK candidate has turned this by-election into one of the toughest by-elections the State has witnessed so far.

After the AIADMK decided to contest this by-election, now ensuring the victory of the Congress from Erode East has become a prestige issue of the ruling DMK since the opposition might dub a defeat here as people’s anger against the DMK government. This makes this by-election very interesting since the opposition has been targeting the DMK government for its ‘failure’ to fulfil its key electoral promises. 

As per the July 11 general council meeting of the AIADMK, Palaniswami has been elected as the interim general secretary of the party now. However, O Panneerselvam has been contesting this view, saying he continues to be the coordinator of the AIADMK since the Madras HC had left open the issue of whether the post of coordinator had lapsed as a matter to be determined at trial in the pending civil suits.

Asked about the speculations that the AIADMK might have difficulties in getting the Two Leaves symbol for this by-election, party spokesperson Kovai Satyan told TNIE: "The symbol is with us. There is no dispute before the ECI as of now about the symbol.  So where is the question of facing difficulty in getting it?  Further, the Supreme Court verdict, which is expected next week, will give much more clarity on who is leading the party."

Another spokesperson of the AIADMK, Babu Murugavel, also told TNIE that there would be no difficulty in getting the Two Leaves symbol for their candidate in Erode East Assembly constituency.

The next move of O Panneerselvam in this regard would be significant. Already, his supporter V Pugazhendi said the supporters of Panneerselvam were ready to contest this by-election.


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