While the major political parties in Tamil Nadu are racing against each other in the upcoming bypoll in the Erode East assembly constituency, the second-in line parties in the state are also vying on the track to at least make a mark in the ballot. In what probably become a last bypoll ahead of the 2024 general elections, we can witness an arduous battle, which will be a litmus test for many leaders.
The Erode East bypoll will be held on February 27 and the results will be declared on March 2. The bypoll was necessitated after the shocking demise of Congress MLA Thirumahan Everaa, who died on January 4 at the age of 46 due to heart attack. With an advantage of being the ruling party, the DMK alliance is much ahead of rest of the parties as it has launched the campaign and announced Congress leader and former Union Minister EVKS Elangovan, the father of deceased MLA Thirumahan, as its candidate.
On the other hand, the political turmoil in the ADMK is taking a new turn with both the rival ADMK leaders Edappadi Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam divulging that they both would field candidates against each other. Though both of them showcase the same political equation in seeking the support from the BJP, the saffron party is also mulling fielding its own candidate by sidelining both the ADMK leaders. However, the ADMK alliance is yet to reach a political consensus in competing in the Erode East bypoll.
The ADMK alliance has BJP, Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK), Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), and Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC) as its major parties. While ADMK is in chaos, its leader Palaniswami has held talks with TMC chief GK Vasan after which, Vasan announced that TMC will not contest in the bypoll and will support the alliance.
PMK has decided to stay away from the bypoll as the party has announced it will neither contest nor will support the alliance in the bypoll. As both TMC and PMK in the ADMK alliance are out of the race, Vijayakanth-led DMDK has now announced that it will contest in the polls independently. In the midst of its ailing political base, DMDK has come up with the decision to give a try in the bypoll and its announcement has attracted a sharp attention.
Addressing the reporters on Monday - January 23, DMDK's treasurer Premalatha Vijayakanth has announced that the party will contest in the Erode East bypoll. She further announced that DMDK's Erode East secretary Anand will be the party's candidate. She has also appealed to the allied leaders- ADMK's Palaniswami, BJP's Annamalai, and TMC's GK Vasan to support DMDK's candidate in the bypoll. Premalatha said, "We are the first to announce the candidate. So, support us this time."
As far as Naam Tamilar Katchi is concerned, the party's chief Seeman has announced that Naam Tamilar Katchi will contest in the bypoll independently and that his party will field a woman leader as its candidate. Seeman further said that he will introduce the party's candidate in the bypoll on January 29 at an event in Erode. What's in store of actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan is yet to be known as he is in talks with the leaders of his Makkal Needhi Maiam at a high time when the Congress party's candidate Elangovan has sought his support in the bypoll. Notably, AMMK's TTV Dhinakaran has said that he will announce his decision whether or not to contest in the bypoll on January 27.