Big political chaos ahead of Erode East bypoll: Is ADMK going to contest independently by snubbing BJP?

As days are passing by for the Erode East bypoll, that has been scheduled to be held on February 27, the existing political friction in the opposition ADMK alliance is taking new chaotic turns and for the first time in the ongoing political heat, the ADMK's faction led by Edappadi Palaniswami (EPS) has overtly divulged that it would go and contest in the bypoll independently. 

The development has come at a high time when the BJP leaders remain tight-lipped over extending the party's support to the EPS faction. The lack of strong leadership in the ADMK has been keeping the party in a divide with both the rival leaders EPS and O Panneerselvam (OPS) are leading one faction each. As both of them vie to take over the party's leadership, the magnitude of the political tussle has come to the level where both of them announcing to contest against each other in the Erode East bypoll. 

ADMK is observing an alliance with the BJP and in this bypoll, EPS has planned to contest in the bypoll to display his leadership electorically to take over the party's leadership, though his faction elected him as ADMK's interim general secretary last year. As EPS have a good community backing in Erode East, he has held talks with the Tamil Nadu BJP unit and sought its support for his candidate. 

However, in the political infight, OPS has also announced that his faction will contest in the Erode East bypoll and he also met Tamil Nadu BJP President K Annamalai and sought his support. As their tussle has brought a battle between them for securing the party's trademark 'Two leaves symbol', a top leader in the EPS faction has now said that the party will contest in the bypoll independently. 

Earlier, with the view of working for the polls, EPS has constituted a team with hundreds of functionaries to campaign for the party in the Erode East seat. Veteran ADMK leader and former minister Sengottaiyan has been appointed as the chief of the team and the party has been preparing to launch its campaign with no conformity that it would get the Two leaves symbol. On Saturday- January 28, while addressing the reporters, Sengottaiyan said that ADMK will contest in the bypoll independently. 

Sengottaiyan said, "We are going to contest in the first bypoll under Edappadi Palaniswami's leadership. Everyone is expecting how the results of the bypoll would come. As far as this bypoll is concerned, it would create a huge change. Edappadi Palaniswami's victory would have a breakthrough like how it was during MGR's leadership in the Dindigul election. This election will create a change in Tamil Nadu and ADMK is contesting independently." 

When asked about whether BJP is supporting the ADMK, Sengottaiyan said, "Wait and see." His remarks have been going viral as it has come from a close confidante of EPS. As his remarks have sparked a political chaos, it has been reported that EPS has planned to contest independently as BJP is making a delay in divulging its stand in the bypoll. When EPS is getting prepared to contest independently, OPS has also announced to field a candidate from his side and if not, he said he will be supporting the BJP if the saffron party intends to contest in the bypoll. 

On the other hand, amid the legal battle for the party's leadership, EPS has recently approached the Supreme Court and sought a directive to the Election Commission of India to allocate the party's 'Two leaves' symbol to him, by citing that he has been elected as the interim general secretary. EPS has also contended that OPS was expelled from the party and that the post of Coordinator, held by him, has been scrapped. It has been reported that EPS has decided to approach the Supreme Court after the recent invite from the Tamil Nadu Election Commission has mentioned OPS as Coordinator and EPS as Joint Coordinator. 

The Supreme Court will hear his petition on Monday - January 30 and as the voters in Erode East and people across the state are closely watching these chaotic developments in ADMK with the days for the bypoll are getting counted. On the other side of the aisle, the ruling DMK alliance is much ahead in the race and it has already announced its candidate for the bypoll - senior Congress leader EVKS Elangovan, who is the father of Thirumahan Everaa, the deceased Congress MLA of Erode East, whose demise had necessitated the bypoll. Elangovan will be filing his nomination papers for the bypoll on February 3.