Chennai, Feb 16 (BPNS)
The deposed coordinator of the opposition AIADMK, O. Panneerselvam has called a meeting of district secretaries and other office bearers of his faction on February 20. The meeting is being held to discuss on whether the faction should campaign for the Erode East by-polls as the AIADMK official faction led by former Chief Minister, Edappadi K. Palaniswami (EPS) have not invited them to be part of the campaign.
It may be noted that OPS had openly extended support to the AIADMK candidate and stated that he and his supporters would campaign for the ‘Two Leaves’ symbol of the party. However the response from the EPS faction was lukewarm.
The OPS faction has certain pockets in Erode East constituency which can be of support to the AIADMK candidate, K.V. Thenarasu. While AIADMK has not openly commented on this ,leaders in private admit that the support of OPS is required during the election and that the BJP state president, K. Annamalai has already mediated between EPS and OPS for a truce during the by-election.
The AIADMK is on a sticky wicket in Erode East as the seat has been held by Congress candidate E. Thirumahan Everaa whose passing away led to the by-election. South Indian super star, Kamal Haasan’s political outfit Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) has also extended support to the Congress candidate. In the 2021 assembly elections, the MNM candidate had garnered more than 10,000 votes. The Congress candidate had won the seat with a margin of 8924 votes in the 2021 polls and the sympathy factor generated following his death and the support of MNM has given a much needed edge for EVKS Elangovan, former Union Minister and father of the deceased legislator, E. Thirumahan Everaa.
In such a situation ,the AIADMK requires the support from all sections to win the polls and the OPS faction support is important for the AIADMK at this juncture.
Sources in the OPS faction told BPNS that they are contemplating on whether they should extend support to the AIADMK candidate without any official request from the EPS faction.