ADMK's political infight: Is OPS going to withdraw his candidate for the Erode East bypoll?

In the midst of a tumultuous political infight in the ADMK, the faction led by O Panneerselvam (OPS) is most likely to give up the race to his rival faction led by Edappadi Palaniswami (EPS) by withdrawing his candidate for the upcoming Erode East bypoll. The reasons behind giving up are - the support of the party's general council members to EPS and BJP's urge to support the candidate fielded by EPS. 

The Erode East bypoll will be held on February 27 and fueling their feud, both EPS and OPS have announced their candidates against each other and sought support from BJP. While OPS's candidate Senthil Murugan has filed his nomination papers, EPS's candidate Thennarasu will be filing his nomination on Tuesday - February 7, the last day of filing nominations. As both EPS and OPS are battling for the party's 'Two Leaves' symbol, the recent developments display that OPS will likely withdraw his candidate from the race. 

According to IANS, the ADMK will most likely appoint the party's presidium chairman Tamil Magan Hussain as the signatory for form A and B to be submitted to the Election Commission of India, authorizing the party's candidate and awarding the candidate 'Two leaves' symbol to contest in the bypoll. If OPS withdraws his candidate, it would let the ADMK to have candidate contesting in the Two leaves symbol, which was once at stake owing to the tussle between EPS and OPS. 

Earlier, both the leaders have said that they will contest in the Erode East bypoll in different symbols if the Election Commission freezes the Two leaves symbol. Though EPS has expelled OPS from the party with scrapping the latter's post of Coordinator, the Election Commission is yet to acknowledge the expulsion and yet to certify EPS's elevation as ADMK's interim general secretary. 

Recently, the Supreme Court has passed an interim order directing the choice of the ADMK candidate for the Erode East bypoll to be put to the party's general council. The court has also let OPS to place his views to the general council and its decision would drive the Election Commission to take a final call on allotting the Two leaves symbol. On Monday, EPS-backed ADMK leaders Tamil Magan Hussain and CVe Shanmugam have rushed to Delhi to disclose the documents to the Election Commission. 

It has been reported that 90% of the ADMK's general council support EPS candidate Thennarasu. The Election Commission will be announcing its final decision on Monday and as EPS's candidate Thennarasu holds majority in the general council, he will most likely become ADMK's candidate in the Erode East bypoll and would contest in the Two Leaves symbol. As the OPS faction earlier said that it will support the candidate who contests in the Two Leaves symbol, it will withdrawn its candidate Senthil Murugan. 

Last Saturday, Tamil Nadu BJP President Annamalai and Tamil Nadu BJP incharge CT Ravi had urged OPS to support EPS's candidate Thennarasu. While speaking to reporters, Annamalai said, "During our separate meetings with EPS and OPS on Friday, we said the BJP is in favour of fielding a common candidate on Two leaves symbol. We asked OPS to withdraw his candidate from the race and support the candidate announced by EPS as Thennarasu had served as MLA twice from Erode East and was popular among the people."